The walls came down this weekend. It's not like we don't do stuff like this all the time. The precedent exists, since as a family we embrace the practice of building forts. It's been a New Year's tradition since before our son was born, and we have continued the practice of turning our living room into a Bedouin camp with couches on end and Christmas lights supporting the sheets that form our tent. But since it's all play, we know that before our real life can continue, everything has to be put back into what amounts to a more functional order. Mattresses on the floor and entrances and exits that require crouching or crawling allow for a goodly amount of silly fun, but it's not very good for day to day existence. Keeping a clean pathway from kitchen to bathroom to bedroom is important in a household as busy as ours. In the midst of a vacation, however, the temptation to leave things in that state of play is more than palpable. It's contagious.
All of those forts were probably what made us think that building a platform bed for my son would be easy. Before my son entered Kindergarten, we were far better equipped to build things with bedsheets and clothespins than with lag bolts and two by fours. Yet we persevered, and in my son's bedroom we created a relatively permanent structure that took up fully one quarter of my son's bedroom. I say "relatively permanent" because this weekend we took it apart, just like all the other forts we have built inside this house. To be fair, it was much more than a fort. It was the Lego Lab. Beneath the mattress and pillows on which he slept, there was a space for him to create and build all those things he imagined and dreamed about just a few feet away. Up top was the place where his mom and dad had climbed, night after night, to read a story and get that last kiss and a hug. It was always worth the climb.
This was the formal realization of the process that had begun some months ago. Some years ago. That bed way up high hasn't really been his for a while now. We took it apart and turned it back into a regular bed for a kid who is getting ready to graduate from high school . We turned it into what will be a guest bed soon enough. What was once our child's room is now in a state of flux. It's not a fort. It's not the pony corral that my wife first envisioned when we were bolting together the four by fours. It's now spare lumber in the garage. It's out there in case we decide to build a fort. Or something more permanent.