Friday, March 20, 2009

A Sign of Age

I sent Andrew to school with nine dollars for the Scholastic book fair. The books are normally just a few dollars each, so I felt he would be able to choose two or three books. I gave him no instructions, but wondered to myself if he would come home with some selections for his two younger siblings. I hoped that he would do that without my encouragement. He has done it before. I looked forward to showering him with praise when he returned home victorious.

He leapt off the bus with a huge smile on his face that afternoon. He was brimming with joy. He couldn’t WAIT until we got all the way home to show me what he bought.

He did not buy a single book. Well, except for the one with the pop-out paper cars, which barely has any instructions to read.

I was incensed. Anger might even describe my reaction. I didn’t show it.

“Mom! Look! I bought this really, super cool poster! Isn’t it so sweet?! It was $4.50.”

“Wow, Honey. That is some poster. It was $4.50?” I looked at it nodding my head to disguise my sadness. It wasn’t even a full-sized poster, and had been quite damaged on the way home on the bus.

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I said nothing. I ranted and raved internally. All I could think was that my child had no idea of the value of money. He wasted $4.50 on this ridiculous poster.

He talked about it while we ate our snack. Then, he ran upstairs with it.

A few minutes later, he beckoned me upstairs.

I walked in the room and saw my son’s very first big kid poster hanging on his wall. The black and purple poster hung right between his sister’s dresser and the childish stoplight we had bought for the room when Andrew was two years old. It was hanging on his wall, not my wall.

There it was.

It isn’t a pin-up. It isn’t a potty-mouthed rock band. It is just a car.

Seeing the black-background poster hanging on my son’s wall all the sudden made the whole room grow up. The fire engines on his comforter laughed at me. The sweet, little boyish watercolor of a helicopter hovered on the wall like a lonely spring bird that forgot to fly south in the fall.

Reading is Andrew’s favorite subject. And, when my children see full bookshelves with ‘nothing to read,’ we visit the library. I wouldn’t dare deny my children books. Books in our house are like sand on the beach.

The poster transformed his room in a way I could never imagine. It is something “permanent” to him, not like a book that is read and finished. Books are free at the library. The poster seemed valuable, well worth the $4.50.

It is his poster, on his wall, in his room. It is a sign of age.

I’m just not sure if I’m old enough yet.


Badass Geek said...

It is a pretty snazzy looking car, though.

Indy said...

Loved this post. Wow. He is growing up. Wonder who will be the first poster of a girl he puts him? ICarli? Hanna Montana? Madonna. LOL. Do boys do this or just girls?

Indy said...

Sorry. I meant to say poster on your wall. Not girl he puts him. I better go to sleep now.

MIT Mommy said...

Badass - It is a snazzy car. I was surprised that he didn't pick a Ford.

Indy - Get some rest, Doll.

Flea said...

I'm pretty impressed with you, recognizing his maturing with the poster. It only gets better, you know. My youngest has some pretty cool Spider Man posters, alongside the entire World. And hats. Baseball caps the boys have collected hang on their walls. A young man's walls say a lot about who he is and what he treasures.

MIT Mommy said...

Flea - And I can't wait for my friend to read it. The friend who I called and ranted and raved at, angry because the book fair volunteers allowed my son to buy the poster.

I talked to her before my son called me upstairs. She'll laugh at me for this one.

Anonymous said...

Oh Andrew's such a ...... boy!

It was a bargain when you think of the pleasure he'll derive from looking at it.