I remember the day we found it. It was in 2008 when nurseries were widely pink, blue, or yellow. At least that’s what seemed to be the norm. There was not really much black. Or grey. And you definitely weren’t gonna find an orange Jenny Lind design anywhere for the masses. It was primarily pastel city for the color choices. And white and brown for the furniture.
We didn’t know what we were having. But boy or girl, I wanted the nursery for our firstborn to be anything but normal. I wrote pretty openly about that in a blog post. That I wasn’t into a bed-in-the-bag situation. Then again, I also wrote pretty openly that I thought the thing burrowing about in my belly was an alien lifeform soooo… to say my opinions might have changed a bit over time would be a fair statement.
It was before Etsy. And before Target had Pillowfort. It was when the only “designer” looking options were in Pottery Barn Kids. And we had more of a WalMart budget.
I knew I didn’t want to buy a bumper. Or a quilt. I knew those would be costs we could avoid. And I really wanted to have black and white. Everywhere. But apparently the people who designed baby stuff in 2008 didn’t agree.
We went to Kansas City. Because there also was no Buy Buy Baby in existence yet, at least in the midwest. And Babies R Us only carried Gliders. But I wanted a chair. A specific type. Again, a Pottery Barn Kids look. For a bump-on-a-budget price.
And it was at a store there that we found our chair. I picked out black and white polka dots. And then we found a lamp. A Kelly green lamp. On clearance. And then it started coming together. A sort of matching crib skirt. Also on clearance. At a Gap Baby of all places. And snagged the only two black and white polka dotted crib sheets in the whole big box store. Also, being “last chanced.” It was pretty evident that my aesthetic was perhaps not one for the masses of the time.
The hubs wanted stripes. Green. Really green. And so he and my parents and his parents had a labor of love, painting the walls. Meanwhile, I “claimed” I couldn’t help because of paint fumes.
And the great green room was born.
Most people thought it looked like a boy room. Which I refuted. But most likely that was true. I was just happy it wasn’t pastel green. Because I just wasn’t a pastel green mama. But looking back, maybe I just knew I was destined for boys.
And then we placed the crib. The crib that was a splurge for sure. The crib that we put on a credit card. The crib that we met in the middle on. Because I had envisioned black but at the time, there was only one choice for that hue. And we just weren’t sure it was our look.
We knew it was an investment. The crib, the small dresser. But we imagined having more than one to slumber there over our parenthood. We imagined having a baby inhabiting it for a streak of time.
We didn’t imagine how little the baby wouldn’t want to sleep at the beginning. And that we would end up using a hand-me-down pack n play for our second two for the first 3-6 months of their lives. We didn’t imagine going through sheet cover after sheet cover after sheet cover due to spit up after spit up after spit up. We didn’t imagine how the crib would become such a piece of our history.
Three boys. Two houses. And 9 years later. The cradle, will fall.
As the crib comes down, I don’t find myself sad or melancholy. We’ve had it for a time and we’ve loved it well. But I also don’t find myself wanting to give it up anytime soon. I find myself being drawn to the sign that still hangs, “from small beginnings come great things” and thinking about how small it all started. With just a crib. But how it grew into a character. A supporting actor in our lives. A place of safety and comfort. A place that caused stress from sleepless nights, colicky fits, and learning how to become parents; one minutehourdayweekmonthyearlife at a time. A place that was calm; when a sleeping, baby snuggled into it, bum in the air, eyelashes gracing cheeks. A place, a thing, that I will forever remember fondly.
Now. Almost 9 years after we first laid eyes on our would-be fixture of the baby days, the cradle comes down. The crib gets packed away. And the big boy bed is already in full-swing. And while it’s been a good ride, I think we’re all good with it.
I remember the day we found our nursery. And our crib. Before Pinterest. Before our trio even existed. And before we even knew what to do with a baby. But we knew, it seemed, that if we built it — the room, the crib, the illusion that we were prepared — then parenting, it would come.
And I do believe, come — parenting did.