Monday, May 16, 2011

In My Room

Deb: As Brian Wilson sang:

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to ... in my room, in my room.
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears ... in my room, in my room.
Do my dreaming and my scheming, lie awake and pray,
Do my crying and my sighing, laugh at yesterday.
Now it’s dark and I’m alone but I won’t be afraid,
In my room, in my room, in my room in my room, in my room, in my room, in my room.

Growing up, my room was my sanctuary. I am sure many of us feel the same. From my very first ballerina wallpaper to my ponytail-girls-talking-on phones wallpaper to the Beatles and Monkees posters, it was always MY SPACE, not myspace.

Because this “my space” was reserved for my inner sanctum, the keepers of my girl world. Carol Ann, Donna, Bev, Jane, Pat, Pat, Gail, Dale and Suzanne.

My parents were so wonderful about letting me make my room my own. During Monkees years, I even had a poster of Peter Tork on the ceiling above my bed. Sigh.

It was with this spirit that we allowed the boy to do the same. And he has gone for it over the years, sporting rooms that spoke to him and surrounding himself with things he loved.

There was the Pooh room, the Thomas the Tank Engine room, the Space Cowboy room, the Flags of the world room, and the purple movie posters room.

In the last few days he transformed his room yet again, his father and he ripping it apart, recycling, giving away, trashing and cleaning. This time he was inspired by photos he had seen and he downloaded a hundred or so, painstakingly cutting them out and arranging them like an art installation around the room.

It looks so fantastic and I love it.

And then came a sobering moment. After oohing and ahhhing about his room, he said to me, “Mom, what will you turn this room into when I move away?” Wow.

“Ahh, yeah, honey, I ummm, don’t know. Maybe a crafts room or ahhhh, ummm, guest room or.........I don’t really know.”

So I shall cling to this latest in a long line of sanctuaries of self-expression the boy has lived in.

Because in the blink of an eye, it will become a boring old guest room. 

Barbara: Wow, it’s crazy that you should write this on this of all weeks. I mean, you could have written this any time over the last blog-year, given that your boy has been unofficially gone from the nest for the last few years (still coming home between stints at school).

But no, you’ve written this and I read it now on the very week that my daughter received her acceptance to university out of town. She already has a place to live. An apartment with two other girls. She’s all set. She’ll be moving out in the fall—not permanently yet (I don’t think, sniffle, sniffle), but she is close to that too.

I will feel my first loss in the fall and I am feeling weepy now thinking of it (thanks, Deb!). Don’t get me wrong, I am nothing but thrilled and excited for my daughter. But I anticipate that her room—in all its eclectic and vagabond glory, with its posters of Dylan and Marley, its Egyptian artifacts, its life-size octopus hand-painted on one wall, its piles of homework and books, its mountains (a veritable RANGE) of clothing on the floor––will soon become a boring old something. And she will be gone. And it will be quiet. And a chapter will be over.


Deb, it is serendipitous in the extreme that you should write this now. Because not only do you remind me of this hard, cold reality, but you have also shown me by your amazing example just how much loving energy and loveliness can come to that empty nest, changing it from “empty” to “full of grace”. Thank you.


  1. I, too, went through this and as soon as they left the nest I put all their treasures in the garage and converted each room to a den and exercise room. Then when my sons got married and started having kids I did concede one room to a guest room. Before I just used blow up beds for guests. I often describe my house as 3 dens and a bedroom. I repainted and started taking over their rooms as soon as I knew they were not coming home again. Now the grandkids use the rooms for sleepovers. A few years later when I converted my garage to an art studio both my sons (one with his wife) came out to reclaim anything they wanted to ship back to their own homes. Otherwise it went to recycling or charities. They did a great job filling trash cans throughout the neighborhood and construction bins. I was lucky as a teenager when I took home economics (I know dating myself) I designed my dream room and when we moved (I was in 9th) grade my dream room became my real room. It was so exciting. Thanks for the blog today it brought back lots of memories. By the way I was thrilled to get my house all to myself when my kids left the nest. I was very happy-no transition for me. I was so ready to be on my own in my own house that I owned. Got rid of the kids and the husband almost the same time. :)

  2. Oh... now I'm thinking about kids leaving, and I surely have years to go... My oldest is 16, but is pretty sure she is community college bound, so probably not moving out until she is 20. I had sort of free rein at hom and LOTS of posters and such... choice of paint... we are poorer though, and have plaster walls so hubby won't allow nails... they do have their choice of colors and knick knacks, but I suspect the kids will be content to move to larger digs.

  3. My grandparents let me do the same thing. They
    let me do anything I wanted to which is great. I went through a bunch of phases. I went through the princess phase where I had pictures of snow white and Cinderalla and all those prinecess on my wall, I went through the fashion stage where I had all those fashion celebrites on my wall, I painted my wall Orange because I love Orange and wanted my room to look like the inside of a pumpkin I guess. The think I did before I left for college was put my room almost like a spa. I put a comfortable chair in there and put the lights on low,and just made it so comfortable.

    I am so glad my grandparents let me do this and even know I did somethings in that room that they would not have done they still let me decorate it however I wanted it and I could not have ask for anything better.

    My grandparents have now turned that into a quite reading space now but and I could not blame them. They sent me pics of the room and it looks great. I am glad they found good use of it after me.But they always say when I come home that it is still my room when I come home.

  4. Madge, Hart, Lyndsie I love hearing your stories of your own rooms and what they mean to you. And of course the tales of kids who have moved on and those who are about to-and sweet Grandparents. We LOVE having the boy home but you are right, the transition works they way it's supposed to, doesn't it?

  5. I'm the opposite, my room growing up was rather poky so I was pleased to flee it. Now I want space, fields, kingdoms. Give me Canada!

  6. Canada sir, is yours for the taking!!!

  7. I had a picture of Peter Tork on my wall right next to my bed too. (Giggle) It was during their 20 year reunion and I cut all his pictures out of my "16 Magazine". Still love the Monkees.

    I'm wishing I had my own room. I miss having a private sanctuary. But, as for my kids leaving home, I don't even want to think about that yet. I hope when they get to that age, they will be ready to make their way into the world, and I will be happy for them. Until then, I get to hold onto them for a while longer. Thankfully.

  8. Deb, I really like your son's style. His newly decorated bedroom is great, both the color and the way he used the photos on the walls. Quite lovely and visually intriguing.

    My room growing up was my special realm. It was where I went to hide from my parents, esp. after my dad got home from work each evening. It was where I plotted and planned, wished and aspired, and taught myself a lot of things -- always learning. There were shelves and shelves of books, of course. The walls were green, but not much of that green was visible because every inch of wall space, room door, and closet door was covered with posters or frames or trinkets. I had a 6' long kite strung across the ceiling over the foot of my bed. I had 2 wind socks and a big, inflatable flamingo hanging from the ceiling, too. A Chinese paper parasol hung in one corner of the ceiling. As I progressed through high school, my shelf of trophies and plaques filled. (My goal was to get straight A's, accomplish a bunch of stuff like placing well as captain of the chemistry team, etc., and be valedictorian in order to get a scholarship and get away to university as quickly as I could.) Second only to my shelves of books in importance was my stereo. Books and music -- must haves then and now. Along with books on the shelves were lots of little Japanese trinkets, rocks and fossils, interesting tea cups, bottles, and other glassware, and more. A tall curio cabinet held my collection of antique dolls from my grandmother and dolls from around the world gathered from friends and family who had been stationed places in the military and from my piano teacher's trips around the world (she would always bring me a souvenir doll from another country).

    The posters were my daydreams. I had a huge glow in the dark celestial map because I've always been into astronomy. I got that poster when I was 12, and from reading the tables, etc. around the edges of the chart, I learned things like southern hemisphere constellations, parsecs, how to classify stars, etc. I had lots of posters of places. Some were places I had visited (but wanted to return to in a stronger capacity than just a visit), and some were places I wanted to go but hadn't been, yet. I remember posters of France, DC, NY, and more. Back then, I truly believed I was going to go out into the world and make my mark in the city. I had huge aspirations and was lunatic enough to believe that I could pull them off (that shelf full of trophies and plaques fed my delusions). I would lay across my bed sideways singing along to anything from Sting to Peter Gabriel to Les Rita Mitsouko to Siouxsie and the Banshees while dreaming toward my spectacular someday.

    Here's a pic of my room a bit past its prime. I was home from college over Christmas break between fall and spring semester of my 1st year at university. This pic was taken 12/31/90 on my 18th bday. My room, by that point, was less than it had been because I had taken much of what was "me" with me to my dormroom.

  9. this is dear to my heart as well. I just graduated with my BA on Saturday and moved into my new summer apt the same day. I never really decorated my dorm rooms or my last apt because I still felt like a college student. Even though I'm only in my current place for the summer I'm feeling the need to make it my own. Dad's last move included going down to 2 bedrooms (one for each of my sisters) so now when I visit him I sleep on the couch. So excited about making my new space my own,even if it is for just 2 1/2 months!

  10. I feel the same about my room- it's always been my space, my retreat! Growing up, my mom pretty much let me put whatever I wanted on my wall. I had middle school art projects, Bible school banners, and the *NSYNC posters, and Schwarzenegger movie posters in high school. (I was a girl with eclectic tastes, for sure!)Currently, my room is in a basement, which makes it hard to put stuff up. So for now, my "NCIS" cast pics, and photo from travels are currently stashed away. Someday, I will make my room my own again!

  11. Oh, I just love all your room stories. Lyndsie, the orange room that made you feel like you were inside Cinderella's pumpkin just killed me. Rigel, I love that photo (I've seen that before, no?). So sweet. And don't stop dreaming, baby!

    Molly, I still love the Monkees too! But it was Davey Jones for me. And Ruth and Beth, you're just starting out! Such an exciting time -- this is when you really need to own who you are and that can be totally celebrated within those hallowed walls.

  12. My room is a bit unusual. You see, as I type this, I'm sitting in the bedroom I grew up in. I've been here since I was 4 years old. It is the only bedroom, and indeed the only house I ever remember living in. Even now, it still has remnants of my childhood- shelves full of stuffed animals, my clarinet, and an endless assortment of odds and ends. It was, and still is, a tiny little sanctuary, a place that's just for me and I love it. I didn't even leave it when I went to college, as I attended a college very close to my house and commuted. And I loved being able to come home at the end of every day. Having lived in the exact same place for 27 years, I've come to think of this house not just as a place to live, but almost like a member of the family. And I just can't imagine my life without it.

    (Sorry if I'm a bit ramble-y today. It happens occasionally...)

  13. April I think that is so lovely. And true. Our rooms, when they mean something to us, have personalities don't they?


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