My beautiful daughter Sara left for college in 1999, and then went on to get married a few years later and now has two amazing sons of her own. For the last twelve years I have pretty much left her bedroom as it was when she left. Other than moving a treadmill in, adding some yoga space and filling the closet with things I no longer needed but couldn't part with, it was still, "Sara's Room". Her posters hung on the walls, her alter shelf filled with dried roses from her senior year, glass beads that a friend gave her in junior high, bottle caps and concert ticket stubs. The ceiling was still covered in glow in the dark stars and planets and the window sills contained little treasures that only she would know why she saved.
For the last couple years whenever I went to visit her back east, I would always take a few things with me from her closet in an extra suitcase, and she and Travis, her high school sweetheart and now husband, would look through what I had brought and most, if not all of the time, they would stare at me with "that look". You know the one, it says "Why in the world did I save this, and what am I going to do with it now". So over time I have started to ask before I brought something, and most - if not all - of the time Sara has told me "Mom, I really don't think I want those anymore, go ahead and pack them up and get rid of them." Now of course there are a few things that are off limits to this tactic, but most all include pages of paper, because after all she is my daughter. Books of Sara's and old car magazines of Travis's still fill boxes in the closet. When they would come here to visit it was always the same, she would go through her closet and try her hardest to remember why something seemed so important to her but we never had all that extra time to go through it.
This last month when I returned from the kids I realized by a few of our conversations that there really wasn't much here in her room anymore that she would save. I have been wanting to paint and carpet the room for quite some time, and the alcove window overlooking my side perennial garden and fountain have been calling to me for years as the perfect place to sit at a little table and write my blog and thoughts of the day.
This last week out came the Rubbermaid totes and I started the task of getting the room and closet cleared out. The children's and adult books will be saved for her and the boys, and the few toys that remained will also stick around for when they come to visit. They have built a life for themselves and it includes a home filled with possessions, but much more important a home filled with love. I didn't realize until I got into the packing how emotional of a journey it would be for myself. The swim trophies and ribbons from 12 years of competitive swim meets, the boxes of pictures that cover the dining room table until I have time to go through them, the prom dresses, wedding dress, the green corduroy coat that she wore every day because she was so in love with the band Green Day. Suddenly taking the stars off the ceiling seemed to be the easy part. Memories overtake me as I remember back to the day I cleaned out my own room at my Mom and Dad's. They were retiring, selling their home and moving into a large 5th wheel that would start an amazing adventure for them that lasted for 12 years.
The walls are now a cheery yellow and sage green, the carpet plush, and I found the perfect small table to place by the window. As I wrote this I took my first pictures of the hummingbirds that grace the garden everyday. It seems like yesterday and I wonder where the years have gone. But I only need to look at what is remaining in the closet to know - they have gone to having the privilege of raising the most amazing daughter.
And yes, it will always be Sara's Room!