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Oh, Those Fun Years!

   When I was a younger mother, I loved moving furniture around. I enjoyed changing bedrooms - it was the best way I knew to get a room all clean and start over! When my children were very young, I had a habit of changing their rooms around while they slept. That way, they were not in the way while I worked. I would move all the furniture, toys, clothes, and everything, then carry the sleeping children to their new rooms, and tuck them in. I can remember them waking up in the morning, and coming out with smiles - "Mama, you did it again! I've got a new room!" The new rooms would be all clean and pretty, and it was just purely fun for all of us.

   Many times I've had four children in one room, in two sets of bunk beds. I had triple bunks when they still made them, to save floor space for playing. Once a friend's husband kindly made me a set of bunk beds for two of my sons - both of whom have Cerebral Palsy, because my son Chad was unable to get into a top bunk, and he wanted to SOOO much! The lower bunk was low enough for my son Tony (who could not walk) to crawl into. The upper bunk was low enough for my son Chad (who could limp around, but only could use one hand) to pull himself up into, using a sturdy handle fastened to the end of the bunk, just in the right place for the one hand he could use. He would grab it, and then laboriously hoist himself up into bed. There was no other way he could get into an upper bunk, and he had been keenly aware that he was the only older child who could not. Chad was thrilled beyond measure!

   One fun summer I had ten children in a huge rec room for several weeks! (Just for fun.) Yep! Five sets of bunk beds. I think I enjoyed it as much as the children did.

   Many times in summers, that first decade or two, I filled our huge living room with bunk beds, and slept out there with everyone for a couple of weeks, just to have slumber parties. We had popcorn, stories, laughter and talk talk talk! During the days, those beds got draped with blankets and became forts, teepees, tents, dug-outs, bunkers, caves, houses, hospitals, boats, you name it, they played it!

   At times in the hot summer days, we dragged our mattresses and blankets out on the deck, and "camped" there together. Some of my children still talk of their happy memories of slumber parties with me! We also went camping, spring and summer, and later, during the home school years, during school time as well, having school on the road, at the ocean, or in the woods; visiting different states, and learning all kinds of things like animal habitats, geography, and reading maps!

   As I added on to my family, I added on to the house, and began giving everyone their own room. To my surprise, I found that at first they did not want them! They all camped out in each others' rooms together for years, and then imported friends. Funny. I was the only one who thought they all needed privacy! In their teens, of course, they liked the privacy I gave them. Eventually, we had an eighteen bedroom house.

   I thoroughly enjoyed the days of my children's childhoods! They will be happy memories forever. Togetherness is a treasure.

(C) 2004 Rosemary J. Gwaltney