Dear Liam: Let Me Tell You the Story of your Dinosaur Room
This week you helped me hang 76 pieces of dinosaur art on the walls of your bedroom. While we hung dinosaurs on the wall, I told you the story of how they all came to be there.
A little over a year ago, our good friend Katie sent us a painting of a dinosaur that she made to hang in your nursery, because she knew we were decorating in dinosaurs. (Dinosaurs are the coolest, am I right?!) When I hung the painting, inspiration struck. I had a vision of more handmade dinosaurs all over the wall, by all different people. It was then that Katie’s thoughtful painting gave us the idea for Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project, which we launched in March 2011.
Thanks to Katie’s painting, I envisioned LOTS of dinosaur artwork that completely covered the largest wall of your nursery. Everyone we knew would make us a dinosaur in whatever artistic medium they were comfortable with, be it coloring a picture, drawing, painting, or whatever. Then we would hang the art all together on the wall to create a sort of dinosaur mural. I’d frame each different piece the same way so that they would cohesively form this amazing dinosaur wall, composed of artwork from all of our friends and family. No two dinosaurs would be the same! Little did I know that after posting the blog entry asking for submissions to our dinosaur nursery project that it would get picked up and shared all over the world, thanks to a company called Think Geek. (If you don’t know who they are now, just know that 99% of the coolest stuff you have came from them. Like your plush AT-AT!)
Think Geek shared our blog post and encouraged their own following to make dinosaurs and send them to us to be added to the dinosaur wall. All of our friends, both local and online, shared the project with even more people, too. We have dinosaurs on the wall from people as young as 5 and as old as 67! We instantly started having dinosaur art pour in from all around the globe; at least one new piece arrived daily for months. We got many submissions via email, too, and I printed them out to be framed. It meant so much to us that people we knew as well as people who didn’t even know us were willing to spend their time making and donating a piece of dinosaur artwork to grace the walls of your nursery. This project really helped me have something to focus all of my “nesting” energy on as we prepared for your arrival; I was constantly adding dinosaurs to your room!
With each submission I personally wrote a thank you note and mailed a little sketch out in return, and I had a digital version of the thank you for those who emailed their submissions, too. I hung the art in stages on the wall, the mural growing and growing until we actually ran out of room on the largest wall of your nursery and had to branch out onto a second wall! We had so much dinosaur art that it couldn’t be contained! We have paintings, pen and pencil drawings, prints, digital art, coloring pages, shape cut-outs and sticker layouts, photographs, art made from wood, and even a cross-stitched piece.
We intended for the dinosaur wall to be about sharing the love and appreciating all different forms of art. We wanted you to grow up knowing that your room was decorated by people all over the world who were kind enough to make something to contribute to the project even if they didn’t know you. (Or us!) We wanted you to appreciate the value of handmade from an early age, surrounded by all those different types of art. Each individual piece has its own individual history; each and every dinosaur tells a story!
When we started hanging the dinosaur wall a year ago, you hadn’t been born yet. I hung all of the pieces while we waited for you, and the room was finished before you arrived. Back then, we lived in an apartment. Shortly after you were born, we (unexpectedly) bought our first house and moved. I packed all of the dinosaur art carefully and it sat in several boxes in the corner of your new room until this week. Together we re-hung all 76 dinosaur pieces as I told you the story of your dinosaur wall. It took us all day!
Operation Geekling Dinosaur Project means a lot to us. It meant a lot to have the experience of re-hanging all of the art with you, too. As we re-hung each piece, I was overwhelmed all over again with the emotions of gratitude and love for all of the artists that are represented in your room. I can’t help but gaze up at it all when we cuddle in the rocking chair together now and reflect on just how many different people are involved and the level of kindness involved to make the wall a success. And what that will mean to you when you’re old enough to understand.
And really, how many kids can say that the Internet decorated their nursery?! You are one loved little boy. I hope you love your dinosaur wall(s) as much as we do!
P.S. You can read the original call for submissions blog post here and see the whole gallery here, where the photos are arranged in the order that we received art and hung the pieces last year to show how the wall grew over time. Then you can see the photos of it going back up all over again during the re-hanging section of the gallery at the end.