A kid’s room is a shrine in the parent’s mind sometimes. Special places for the ones held so dear. The ghost of their growing up years lingers on to haunt you when they leave the nest. This is from ‘Notes To My Kids: Little Stories About My Grown Up Kids”
To Roger and Jane:
After me and your mom split up, I had my own places. Whether it was an apartment or a house, I always had bedrooms set up for you. When you visited me, I wanted you to have your own space and your own things. Hopefully that would help those times with me seem more like you were still at home.
Over the years, your rooms at my homes had the usual stuff: a bed, a closet, and some other furniture like a little desk. Honestly, I did not spend a lot on those furnishings, but they seemed to work fine. You both had toys in the closet and a place to sit to do your homework. And you had your own TVs and later on stereos too. There were pictures on the walls as well. Yes, most were ones I already had, but each of you had one I had in my own room growing up – the sand dollar in Jane’s and the B-29s in Roger’s. When we weren’t doing something together, you two would sit in your rooms, play with your stuff, and talk on the phone to your friends or your mom. All in all, you had normal surroundings at my home where things were usually calm.
When you went home, you would straighten up your rooms, pack up your stuff, and off we would go back to Plano or The Colony to take you back to your mom and away from your home away from home—your home with me. As kids, you had two homes, you see.
While I had the rest of my houses to myself, your rooms were still yours, even if you were not in them much, especially when you were in college and grown. Your rooms are still there now. They are filled with your remaining stuff—Jane has more in hers—but those bedrooms remain yours not mine, even though they are surrounded by the rest of the house, which I alone now silently tread.
Even though I am the only one here, your doors are open, and your things remain. The rooms are still and quiet now, but in my mind, I still can see and hear you in them. When I walk into them, I can remember you sleeping in your beds, watching TV, reading a book, or eating a snack. The chalk portraits of you by your bathroom door are another reminder of those times. Those thoughts and images are echoes of your childhood that fill your rooms and my mind every single day.
So what now for your rooms you ask? Being single and with you two grown, there is no day- to-day need for them to remain as is. But they will remain yours as long as I am there. Maybe in not too many years hence, you might be back in them more—not by yourselves, but with a yet unknown spouse and maybe some kids of your own. When that day comes, your rooms and my house that were once filled with the sounds of your little voices and youthful games, will see that again. That is how your bedrooms at my house, which is also yours, should always be.