I’ll never look at my kid’s messy room in the same way, not since author Rebecca Eanes’ meme popped up on my Facebook. It read: “If you think their messy room is hard to look at, just wait till it’s empty.” I actually teared up.
Ms. Eanes writes about positive parenting. Her meme made me rethink how I see my fourth child’s tiled bedroom floor that is carpeted with dirty and clean clothes. She’s 15-years-old and I know the day is coming when her stuff will get picked up, packed up, and moved out as she heads off to college. Just as it did with my three older children.
Their bedrooms aren’t really empty since we converted them into an office and guest room, but I miss their unmade beds and pop star posters. It’s also a little sad to not have overlapping activities crowd the calendar, and to not do a head count when I get in the car. I can’t forget how that usually went: “One. Two. Three. Four. Okay, everyone’s here. Now buckle up and keep your hands to yourselves. I saw that. Don’t touch your brother. Don’t look at your sister. No, we’re not stopping for snacks. Darn it! Didn’t I tell you to go potty before we left? Okay, I’ll pull over at the next gas station. Yes, I guess you can each get a treat. Okay, and a drink. But just this time.”
That time is gone. One by one, they unbuckled those seatbelts and set out on journeys of their own, except for the teenager. When her older siblings visit and see how the baby of the family carries on as an only child, they use this word: Spoiled. Her curfew is later, her allowance is higher, and her wardrobe is overflowing. “She gets more than we ever had,” they point out as if I didn’t notice.
I’ve explained to them that it’s because I don’t have to divide my attention and money in as many ways these days. They frown until I also remind them that she doesn’t have the luxury of being able to blame someone else for lights left on, empty toilet paper rolls, or chores not getting done. It’s all on her. Except for the bedroom. That mess is not on her, it’s on the floor.
Thanks to that thought-provoking meme, I’m going to take another hard look at her untidy room so that the image is forever etched in my mind. Sob, sob. Then I’m going to make her clean it because that will create a nice memory too.