Saturday, August 6, 2016

It's Still Hard to Grow-Up

I remember the first few times that I went back to my parent’s house, the house that I grew-up in from ages 7 years to 21 years old, and I can clearly remember the feeling of disconnect and loss as I stood looking in a bedroom that no longer belonged to me.

I also have a strong memory of years later, when they moved from that home, my whole-life-of-memories home, into another home across town that had never belonged to me at all. A part of me no longer just felt disconnected and lonely for what I had always known, but now, I would also feel amputated from my childhood and the feelings that came with each room in the other house.

The kitchen where I learned to make chocolate pudding and homemade French fries, the den where we all watched television and laughed as a family, and my bedroom, my yellow and orange bedroom that felt like sunshine, happiness and warmth.

Today I invited my son and his girlfriend over for a big Sunday lunch. I made some of his favorites, baked some cookies afterward and we all enjoyed ourselves as we talked about one thing after another.

But before anyone set down to dinner, I came back into the living room from the kitchen and noticed that he was missing.  And as I glanced up, the light to his old room was on.

As I started up the hallway I don’t think I was quite prepared for what I saw. There he stood, in the middle of the room, not moving, just staring. Now that room still isn’t decorated, there are no pictures hung, but the bed is now made, and the mule dresser has some odd and end things already sitting on it.

Zach has never been one to show much emotion, but in that instant, I saw on his face the feelings that I felt all those years ago. That feeling of how different everything looked now, how quickly we were able to make that change as if he were never there at all, and how if even just a little bit, he was missing everything that room used to mean to him.

Well, truth be told, that’s the number one reason I made the decision not to move into his room when he left. It’s obviously the bigger of our two bedrooms as it was once two rooms, but now made into one, but I just couldn’t see myself in there – being comfortable trying to sleep in that room – as if it had never belonged to him.

I was sure I’d still be imagining his hunting gear lying everywhere, boys paying Xbox on his couch, sleep-overs with sneaking-out friends, stinking football gear strewn across the floor, and the laughter, my gosh at the hooting laughter that went on in that room. How would I ever sleep – still seeing and hearing that going on all around me? Plus, I’m still feeling disconnected and a little lost myself.

And besides, nothing in this world gets rid of that permeating “boy” smell. Not even peach potpourri. 

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