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My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
A couple of months ago my oldest son Payton asked me if we could change the color of his bedroom. Seems how the current paint color and decor are a 9-year-old remake of his first 8 years on earth I said, “Why not?” 

I’ll confess that I have never completely changed out everything in his bedroom. The paint, bedding, a poster or two, but not everything including the wall hangings. I think I’ve had some misconception that time would slow down if I wouldn’t consonantly be updating either boy’s bedroom decor with everything new. Keeping the old keeps me remembering how it used to be. Nine years ago Payton had asked for a color change and the paint was really about all that I changed. Everything that came off the walls went right back up on the walls and in the same place. He was excited nine years ago only because he had picked out a brilliant orange/red color and he couldn’t wait to see it and sleep in an orange/red bedroom. I have to admit that the color would glow in the right lighting, and it was cool even to my old self.

This time would be different. Payton pretty much wanted the exclusive last word in color choice. This time I also got a vibe from him that maybe most of the wall hangings needed to be changed out. It seemed to me that he was tired of looking at himself as a baby and young boy. Not me. I would have to find room somewhere else for some of the wall hanger rejects after paint. Of course the only appropriate place in the house for these would be my own bedroom. And my own bedroom walls are already mapped from corner to corner with memorabilia from my boys upbringing. I struggle letting go of the past. Not my own but certainly my boys. They gave me a chance to relive my very own childhood in the same town and same neighborhood as my own. They did many of the same things my brothers and our friends did in this same neighborhood when we grew up out here in Hillcrest.

Payton was going on an after senior graduation trip with some of his friends down to the beaches of Alabama. Since he was going to be gone for a few days this would give Shannon and me a window of opportunity to get his bedroom painted before he got back. Payton had already picked out a color and left the bedding choices to Shannon and me. He wanted something “neutral” by design. Not girlish, not little boyish, and not to old adultish! The wall hanging choices would have to wait on his return from Gulf Shores. I agreed to be patient and not start without his input. I would get to rehang a shelf that has been in his room most of his life but that was it. The television would be put back on the wall from where it had come but other than that, bare walls for now.

Shannon and I managed to get the renovation done in about 72 hours of labor intensive taping, painting, and cleaning. However, now I have a pile of years and years of Payton mementos. What to do with them? I know he will not tell me to go ahead and put any of these back up on his walls. I’m not one of those people that puts this kind of stuff away and gets it back out some time in the future to give it a look. I have pictures but no scrap books. I won’t look through hundreds of pictures unless I’m looking for one particular picture because there is a need for some reason. I attach myself to certain pictures and other mementos and hang them on the walls of the boys room or stand them up on shelves and furniture in their rooms. I want to see these things everyday if I choose to by simply walking by their rooms. Sometimes I will just go in their rooms and lie down on their beds and look around to remember. I don’t want to fumble through stacks of pictures or albums only when I get a chance to. I want that chance every single day. I’ll update this story once he returns home and gets to work on the decor of his own choice. I won’t be happy about most of his choices because I’m selfish like that. Just another day when I wish time would just stand still so the moment will neither change nor end!

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