My daughter’s bedroom door makes me think of all the “No”s I’ve ever said.
This is mainly because the door represents a big old “Yes!”
Our house was never really huge on rules.
When the kids were small we pretty much let them do whatever they wanted to their rooms with one exception — the walls. Both my wife and I were pretty diligent with our edict “No tape on the walls.” That’s where we held the line. That and put away your clean laundry.
Marking up the walls is awful. The tape usually peels off the paint or marks up the wallpaper. We’d consent to certain kinds of tape “guaranteed” not to cause damage, but inevitably that only went so far. Every now and then, as the girls grew they invariably wanted to imprint their space with emblems of what each felt made them, well them.
I don’t know when it started, but my youngest decided that putting stickers on her bedroom door instead of her walls was the way to go. Basically I think this grew out of two things — her love of stickers in all forms, and her inability to reach high enough up on the walls to make decorating them worth the effort.
Again, I can’t remember the exact way it all went down, but I’m sure it went something like this when she was likely 5 or 6, possibly younger.
“Can I stick these on my door,” she might have asked waving a book of stickers.
“Sure, I guess so,” I might have replied thinking she meant the inside of the door, the part that faces into the room. However, that’s not what happened. She stuck things to the outside. Lots of things…
Neither my wife or I freaked out so it continued… for about 10 or so years, give or take.
My daughter is 16 and still decorates the outside now and then with numbers from track meets and races, bumper stickers or something she may have found on vacation.
Every sticker is a loud and resounding Yes filled with exuberant meaning.
Decorating the inside of the door began last year but with a more tasteful deliberateness than the outside.
She jokes that when she gets a car she’ll paste it with stickers. Of this I have no doubt.
I’ve told her that when she moves out the door goes with her; she’s put in too much work for that to be left behind for those who might not appreciate her efforts.
Recollecting exactly how it went down is beyond me, but I’m willing to bet that in my daughter’s 5 year-old mind she likely thought, I can’t believe they’re letting me do this.
Digging deeper I can’t really recall many of the Nos that I’ve uttered across the years but I know they’re out there.
If you eliminate the obvious Nos that exist for safety sake — such as, No you cannot play with the circular saw — what remains are little things that manifested as Not right nows or Just give me a second or I’ll get to it in a second sort of thing.
In the end everything boils down to a Yes, doesn’t it? Without Yeses nothing happens. Yeses have a profound energy like nothing else.
The Yeses we extend to others build memories. The Yeses we accept from others build love.
Occasionally, I go longer than three days without a shave and when the white of my beard shows right through I can see time flee before my eyes.
Like my daughter’s bedroom door, I hope to live out a thousand Yeses before all doors finally shut for good.
For this very reason I remain on the lookout for unique and inventive stickers to fill in whatever blank space persists.