Wednesday, April 24, 2024

One Room: Function to be Determined

 My daughter recently celebrated two years at her first grown-up job. We’ve gone from putting the dates for our next visit on the calendar at the end of each visit to playing it a little more by ear. And her room at our house, still in the initial post-Leah state I wrote about in the blog below, has begun to  transition into a space that we take advantage of but that retains plenty of its Leah vibe. Clothes she wears when she visits and/or doesn’t currently need still fill some of the drawers and closets, but I’ve taken over the small closet and part of a drawer. Her desk, which she didn’t want, was taken apart and put out with the trash to make room for a rehabbed Barbie dollhouse made into a display space for her Lego projects. 

Some day, maybe she’ll move to a space with more room and clear out the rest of the things that matter to her. Until then, I’m fine with a space that is part her, part us.

It’s a process.

My daughter has embarked on her first real world journey. She accepted a job, she found an apartment, and she has moved all of her essentials into the apartment. She’s nesting, which is fun for both of us.

Her bedroom at home, just across the hall from ours, is still full of stuff.  In fact, I think there might be at least as much stuff in her bedroom as there is in her apartment.

I’m not entirely sad about this. In fact, yesterday, I went in and moved some things around to fill up some of the empty spaces created by the furniture she took with her. Last week, I put her college comforter on the bed. Small steps towards taking the room into its next incarnation, whatever that will be.

Oh, who am I kidding? It will always be her room. It may look different - in fact, I hope it does because right now, it’s a testimony to everything she has outgrown. It’s a weird Never Never Land sheltering possessions only she can decide the fate of.

I keep thinking back to my own childhood bedroom and wondering if it lived in this stage for a while. I don’t remember having this much stuff. But we moved several times during my childhood and adolescence, no doubt culling and downsizing each time.

But my daughter has had the same bedroom since we brought her home from the hospital. In fact, when she was in elementary school, she got an addition because her room is just above the mud room we added on downstairs. 

Twice as much room to accumulate stuff.

In her defense, she has downsized dramatically over time. In fact, that’s what concerns me. I’m afraid that much of what is still in her room isn’t going anywhere.

Right now, I’m OK with that. As long as there are traces of her in the room, the move my mind knows is permanent, my heart doesn’t have to accept.

I’m not in denial, nor am I unhappy. Just baby-stepping my way into the inevitable. The pandemic gave us two bonus years of having her home -- which I loved -- but it was never meant to be permanent. We didn’t raise her to stay here -- in this house with us -- her whole life. 

But my heart is slow to catch up with my head. And so this room in limbo gives my heart time. Time to adjust. Time to rearrange. Time to, together with her, decide what’s part of her childhood and what’s part of the person she is now.

So, I’ll keep puttering away. Vacuuming this and dusting that, encouraging her to sort through the things she left behind when she comes home to visit. My goal right now is to restore some sense of order while still reflecting its inhabitant, regardless of the purpose it serves when she’s not here.

What that purpose will be is still to be determined, though I can't yet imagine a time that it won't be Leah's room, no matter where she lives. 

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