It’s silly, but somehow the dresser has become the official beginning for preparing for a baby for us. I didn’t really get why this was so important until last night, wondering what it was about this single piece of furniture that makes it feel official. Of course it has felt real for a while now, but the actual act of preparing is different.
Benjamin’s room was going to be an owls-in-the-woods theme, and I searched for a very specific type of used dresser. I wanted one with character and imperfections and just a certain stain of wood. I mostly searched on Craigslist, but it seemed dressers were a very hot item in Charlottesville. It didn’t matter how quickly I responded to a listing; it was always gone within an hour.
We finally found one. We had just moved into a new place with a third bedroom for him, and it marked the beginning of getting his nursery ready. I had arranged his unpackaged diapers and clothes–detagged, washed, and folded–in the drawers. A candle that smelled like apple pie (his favorite) sat on top, and I’d burn it for a little bit each day as we worked on the other parts of his room so it would smell nice for him.
When we returned to Charlottesville after losing Benjamin, his bedroom door stayed shut for a little while. But we had to start packing and getting ready to move back to Arizona, and while we saved his crib and his things, the dresser had to go. So I listed it on Craigslist.
I remember listening to Eddie talk to the guy who responded to our ad. I could hear him on the other end, and I could almost see the lump forming in Eddie’s throat as the man proudly announced that the dresser would be for their new baby’s room. He waited for a congratulatory response, but after a long pause, Eddie just said, “Well, we’ll be up for a while. So whenever you want to come get it.”
He was there within an hour with a friend and ended up buying both of our dressers and our sectional. His friend’s curiosity eventually got the best of him when he saw a nearly-finished nursery, but no baby and no pregnant belly. He asked if we were having a baby too, but the man who was buying the furniture had managed to put it together himself and hushed his buddy.
Eddie just told him things didn’t work out. I gave them the diapers. And they left with Ben’s dresser. It was the first thing of his we let go.
Maybe even the only thing?
So the dresser has become sort of symbolic. It doesn’t seem as silly to me as I reflect on the history. If you remember, we customized Paisley’s dresser with canvas fabric patterned with dandelion puffs. It’s really the centerpiece of her room, I think.
And now we have Oliver’s.