When I pictured what my kid's rooms would look like, I pictured quaint comforter sets that match the paint on the walls that match the curtains that match the rugs on the floor. You know what I mean. I wanted a picture from the Pottery Barn catalog. But my reality is very different than what I imagined.

Avril prefers to sleep with a stuffed crocodile as her pillow. (Dwayne won this crocodile for me on our honeymoon, by the way.) She also prefers this throw over the expensive quilt that matches her bedroom set. (My mom bought her this throw when we were visiting her in South Carolina.) How do I know she really prefers this stuff since she doesn't talk that much? Because when this crocodile isn't in her bed, she asks for it, pointing to where it should be. "Ha-me?" That's her word for any animal with sharp teeth. And when I put the nice quilt that goes with her bedroom set over her, she kicks it off and makes a puking sound and then points to this blanket instead.

Now, I could decide to make my kids use the blankets I choose, the ones that are all matchy-mathcy. But I have come to feel that exerting my will over them in every single little decision is just oppressive. I don't have to have my way in every single little thing, just when it's really important.

And, at one point, having their blankets matching their curtains matching their rugs was important to me, but it just isn't anymore. It was a youthful fantasy. Now, I focus more on the quality of what goes on in their room, on the spirit of my whole home, on what we are doing and how we are feeling, over what anything looks like.

And just look at Avril with that crocodile under her head! She's precious! I think of all the joy I'd be missing if I made her use a traditional pillow. (Dwayne says he used a pillow in the shape of a school bus when he was a little boy.) This miss-matched reality is much better than anything I ever imagined anyway.


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