February 23, 2009

Fort Bismuth

Ever since we moved into our house (many years ago), my husband and I have used one of several attic crawl spaces to store luggage. It served that purpose well, being as it is the largest and most conveniently-located of all the little nooks. But to everything there is a season, and this space's days as a storage closet were numbered after our daughters helped my husband pull out his suitcases for a trip to Sri Lanka last October. He let them play in it while he packed, after which they immediately asked if we could convert it to a "princess fort."

A few weeks ago, we finally started the process – by first finding new homes for our travel gear. Then my husband put up plastic along the wall that opened onto a bunch of pipes and also hooked up a lamp and strung some LED Christmas lights. That was cute, and the girls played in it, but there was more to come.

One recent Saturday, the girls and I spent the morning painting. Then I pasted on a Disney princess border, and the girls put up appliqu├ęs. Finally, Daddy hung a floral curtain over the plastic "wall," and we put down - what else? – shag rugs. And, voila! The girls have their princess fort, which my husband and I affectionately refer to as "Fort Bismuth," for obvious reasons.

Why did we go to all this trouble when the girls already have a lovely bedroom and a spacious playroom? I guess the answer is, “Why not?” Sure, we had to find new homes for our luggage – no small feat considering how often my husband travels! And we had to invest some time and a little money into the re-modeling effort. But, ultimately, each “cost” was negligible compared to the joy that the fort brings the girls.

I like a well-ordered, clean house as much as anyone. And I like “grown-up home decorating,” too. So our living room will never be fuchsia at the girls’ request. But this is their home, too; they belong here as much as we do. So we determined there would be no harm – and, indeed, there would be great benefit – in creating a special new space just for them. After all, kids must hear “no” so often every day for the sake of safety or character development. So why not honor their requests with a “yes” when we’re able?

Of course, this whole process has sparked my girls’ imaginations. So the next project to tackle - after the spring thaw – is the space under our deck. After all, they'll need an outside fort, too.


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