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  • My eldest son just turned seven. He shares a bedroom with his four-year-old brother and until recently did his homework at the dining room table. A few weeks before his birthday he hopefully asked, "Mom, can I get a desk for my birthday? I really want my own space for drawing and writing and doing homework. I have a plan already!" He handed me a very detailed drawing that showed how a desk could fit in the corner of his room by the window (so he'd get natural light). He beamed with excitement waiting for my answer.

    What he didn't know is that his father and I had already planned to take him shopping for a desk. This was mostly for selfish reasons - his drawings and art supplies littered our dining room table and we were constantly having to clean them up before dinner each night. But I was thrilled that he came up with the idea on his own.

    After making a space for a desk and carefully taking measurements, we set out as a family to IKEA. On the way there I realized that this was a huge moment in my son's life. His voice sounded different to me as he spoke about all of the office supplies he'd need and how he couldn't wait to make his first drawing at his new desk. He was older not only in years but also in demeanor. He was in charge!

    We easily found the perfect desk - white and orange with a magnetic surface for hanging his drawings. He waited impatiently as his father assembled the desk and bright red chair. I took him shopping for his very own office supplies and he paid for the magnets himself out of his piggy bank. He has spent the last few weeks getting his new space organized in just the way that he wants.

    He now spends most of his free time at his new desk, a space all his own. This morning he woke me up with a huge smile on his face and handed me his new binder containing the following sections (misspelling is his):

    1. Drawings
    2. Storys
    3. Random writing
    4. Ninjago
    5. Strange animals
    6. Lists of whatever
    7. Facts
    8. Charts
    9. My own board games
    10. My brother's drawings

    It is moments like this that make all of the stress of being a parent worth it. I hope that I can continue to listen to what my kids need and allow them to create their own spaces.
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