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Found: A Desk

Cora has an insatiable love for all things artistic and crafty. She’s got a stack of things to do in her room at bedtime, including but not limited to: a rainbow loom set; an actual cross-stich (yes, she can do it all by herself); several beginning sewing kits; several sticker mosaic sets; a stack of notebooks, maze and puzzle books, and coloring books; and a full desk set, including scissors, tape, erasers, crayons, and more.

What she does not have is a desk.

Cora has a plastic lap desk that she uses for crafting in her bed. She’s also got a very nice dressing table with a big mirror, the counter of which will quickly become buried under cut up construction paper and stacks of homemade fans, which then precludes her using the storage of her dressing table.

So I’ve been looking for a desk for Cora for nearly a year now, but I had a few requirements:
1. It has to be used. I’m big on recycling/reusing whenever possible.
2. It has to be real wood, so I can re-finish it to match the rest of her room.
3. It has to fit into a very narrow, small space that’s the only available spot for a desk.
4. It has to be cheap. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

For a long time I thought I’d never find a desk, but on Friday afternoon the girls and I hit a thrift store looking for extra silverware (‘cause that’s how I roll) and I found The Desk. Narrow, skinny, real wood, and dirt cheap.


Oh, except Cora didn’t know she needed a desk.

We ran home to measure and make sure it would fit, and Cora looked at her sweet room and said, “I’m not really sure I want a desk. I mean, I really like my room the way it is right now. Do I have to get a desk?”

So we talked about it, and about what things would need to go into the closet to make room, and eventually she agreed that she did want it. Are you sure? I kept asking. And she seemed sure.

We brought the thing home and stored it temporarily in the living room – the desk needed a good sanding and re-painting. And before the desk and been in the house ten minutes, Cora was seated at it (did I mention it came with a chair?) with a notepad and pen, busy working on something. Maddie wandered over and began to ask a question and Cora said, “Maddie, please, I’m busy working at my desk. Can you talk to me in just a minute?”

Sunday afternoon was Go time for our work, and by then Cora was itching to pick up a paintbrush and dig in. We laid our paint cloth and dragged the desk into the gorgeous sunshine, and Cora played on the swingset while I used our sander for almost two hours, Cora constantly checking: “NOW can we paint? NOW? NOW?”

We painted three full coats on that desk, painting it a creamy white with the yellow from Cora’s walls on the drawer fronts. We sanded down the spindle-back chair and painted it, too, and Gramma is going to sew a new seat onto the cloth bottom. We’ve cleaned up the drawer hardware and it’s ready to move in today.

The thing’s probably from the mid-50’s, already had several coats of (various colored) paint on it, and isn’t the world’s fanciest desk to begin with. We sanded off as many divots and old paint drips as we could, but it’s by no means perfect.

But it’s perfect for my girl, and that’s good enough for me.

Friday morning I had no idea I’d devote most of Sunday to re-finishing a piece of furniture, or that Cora would be right there working alongside me most of the time, making sure there were no “drippies” streaking the paint job. But there we were in companionable silence, working away, until Cora said, “Mommy, you were right. I did need a new desk. Thanks for knowing that before I did!”

To which I wisely replied only, “You’re welcome,” and left it at that.

‘Cause that’s how I roll.


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