When we were preparing for Oliver's arrival I didn't do it by making space in our home for him. I did it by researching, by eating healthy, by planning the birth, by meditating and going to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and listening to Rainbow Relaxation...every...single....night.
I didn't understand the importance of the preparation of a bedroom. I didn't understand why, when we were planning on co-sleeping, and still do 21 months later, there was such a fuss around the rocking chair, and the diaper table, and the starred wallpaper. Surely it would be ages before your baby could even cognitively understand what it even means to have a room. So why all the money? Why all the stress?
Like so many things in parenthood, it started to dawn on me why the preparation of the nursery is an important energetic and psychological process. There is a deeper meaning behind these rituals, although they are often masked with our culture's compulsive consumerism. It's not that children need the all of the things...or even their own bedroom. But they do need to know that they have a place that is uniquely and fully theirs within the home, within the family, within the strange new world they find themselves inhabiting. When you take the time to carve out space for them, you are letting your baby know that he or she belongs.
After moving out of our apartment it was almost four months of travel, of living out of suitcases and having no space for any member of the family to truly "inhabit." But now we are settling in here. I feel very thankful that Oliver has a bedroom with windows and light and a spot for everything. And that I can say to him, "Oliver, go put your books away" and he knows where they belong. That he has a place in our home and our life that is just for him.