The Empty Room

A member of my household moved back to college a couple of weeks ago. But this time, instead of the claustrophobic closet of a dorm room, there is a big apartment to furnish.

Off the walls come the autographed mementos of childhood heroes, yellowing banners of former school victories, the dry-erase board that is still active after all these years, vintage music posters and personalized signs establishing territory.

The dirty clothes have vanished with their hamper, scattered footwear marched off toward winding campus trails or retired to the darkest, forgotten shelves. Chairs, drawing table and lamps have all been whisked away to find new productive lives.

The perpetually unmade bed has left dimples in the carpet to remember it by.

I wander around aimlessly in this small room, suddenly vast and hollow as a canyon, its cloudless blue walls and sand-colored floor containing my desert in parenthood.

Before the empty echoes of the U-Haul fade, another family would find younger siblings lined up to stake their claims, the winds of seniority shifting down the hall to find a new balance.

But at my house, there is nothing to redistribute. Everything has found its place. There is no mid-life hobby busting its seams, or exercise equipment for the middle-aged chaffing at the bit to spread its wings.

And even though I have an unobstructed path, there’s no incentive to vacuum away the traces of childhood.

Maybe tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “The Empty Room

  1. Beautiful thoughts about that time of life that many of us are experiencing! Yet the apartment twist made this time even more thought provoking with your empty room. I just took over our oldest son’s room upstairs in our tri-level (the largest room in the house besides our den) and redid it as a basically multipurpose room. Trouble is I had to sort through all of the “things” he left behind!! My younger sister, Carol just took her middle daughter to JMU this week.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Hi Cindy! Great to hear from you. I imagine there’s a lot of us left with empty (or vacated) rooms these days. I live in a tri-level, as well, with too much room for two people and two pets. Although the cat would happily claim it all if it was up to him. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Hi Rayme! Yes, all that floor space will come in handy. I think we’ll leave it empty since everything will probably come back in nine months! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Elizabeth Farr

    Your writings are so clear, so concise, so beautiful. Thank you. You said all of this so well. I love to read your blog posts. Thanks for sharing. I also feel the sadness and for me at least, I feel pain and loss. It is a new beginning for your daughter and closure for you in many ways. It is a loss of what was, and also I sense an aging of myself in my soul and body. Some of it is scary and some of it is nice. Bittersweet chocolate in a way. We have even more space now that we have no kids living with us. My statement is I loved it when they come home and hate when they leave, yet, it was time. Hugs, and thanks for your posts. So eloquent, so gentle, so touching.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Elizabeth — your words are very eloquent and heartfelt as well. You know what I mean because you’ve been through it, too. Bittersweet chocolate is a perfect comparison. Part of life, I guess. Thanks for your insight and see you soon.

  3. I can really relate to this, Tamara. The first leave taking is the worst, but the pain is only slightly less sharp during the subsequent fall seasons. The ones after a weekend or holiday, a little less so.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Gearing up for Labor Day weekend when she’ll be home for a couple of days. It won’t be so hard this time (and she’ll have to stay in the guest room). Always lovely to hear from you, Adriene!

  4. This was beautiful Tamara. 🙂

    I like the concept that an empty spot is waiting to be filled. If it sits with nothing for long enough the perfect something may just come along to fill it.

    And how awesome that you have a whole room in your house and nothing to fill it with. It lets the energy of your newly grown up kid linger there a little longer.

    1. suburbansatsangs

      Hey Tanja! There’s something decadent about an empty room. Before we had dining room furniture, my husband used to lay on the floor and spend time with the dog. (We have a very short dog.) It was kind of a play area for all of us, right off the kitchen. So, it was a little sad when the delayed shipment finally arrived. I think we’ll leave this room alone and see what happens. Thank you for commenting! Always love what you’re doing on Minimalist Packrat.

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