Billup used to spend a lot of time inviting herself into our bed. At three in the morning, she’d come padding into our room, pull back the corner of the covers and shove herself in next to me, all without slowing her pace. I’d end up wedged between Ted and Billup or, more often, tiredly decamping to Billup’s abandoned bed. Sure, her sheets were often oddly sandy, but at least there I had space to roll over without bumping into anybody.
She finally stopped a couple of years ago, but early mornings and bedtime remained fair game. Every morning, like clockwork, she’d come padding in at dawn and invade our warm blankets with her physical presence and unflagging desire for conversation. At night, I’d be reading in bed when the sound of her bare feet outside the bedroom would suddenly announce her presence. I’d barely have a chance to look up from my book before she’d slide herself into Ted’s empty side of the bed, ahhh-ing loudly. She’d cheerfully announce, “I’m going to sleep here, OK?”, her voice rising at the end as if asking a question—but we both understood it was only a rhetorical one.
It got to be as routine as her middle-of-the-night visits. “Billup: Out. Back to your bed,” I’d flatly declare and she’d groan and head back to her room. Her parting words were always the same, too: “But your bed is so much more comfortable than mine! If you got me a new bed, I wouldn’t come into yours so much!”
So Ted and I finally broke down last summer and got her and Boof new beds.
Billup has kept her word—be it her plusher bed or her body’s need for more z’s, she now rarely makes an appearance in our room. Boof, on the other hand… we can’t seem to get him to leave.
For the soft-hearted among you who might start aww-ing and saying, “He wants to spend more time with his parents!”—let me stop you right there. There are many times when Ted and I attempt to pull Boof close, and the boy gives us the emotional Heisman. This is not him wanting to hang out with his parents.
For Boof hangs out in our room all the time now—but only when we are not in there. Yup. He uses our room as his own personal lounge when we are busy taking care of stuff downstairs. So I’ll come upstairs from washing the dishes, turn on the light in our room—and there Boof will be, listening to his iPod in the dark. Or, I’ll come up to change into pajamas—and there’s Boof, lounging on our bed in an oversized t-shirt and boxers, texting on his iPhone.
I don’t quite know how to feel about this. On the one hand, I am sort of aww, thinking that our teenager might still derive some comfort from hanging out in Mom and Dad’s room. On the other, I find myself thinking, “Why in the world are you hanging out on my bed—in your underwear—when you have a room and bed of your own!?”
But I’m afraid to actually give voice to that question. Because if my voice rises at the end, Boof won’t understand that it’s rhetorical. And we really can’t afford to buy him a new room.