Saturday, April 23, 2011

(T) Three Doors Down (the hall)


There is something to be said for an empty nest. 

No more sticky doorknobs, mounds of laundry, exorbitant grocery bills, or sibling bickering. No more sitting up after midnight peeping through the blinds- waiting for your teenager to return home safely from a date. No more dishing out lunch money, dance funding, or being a 24/7 taxi service. No more setting alarms, watching for school buses, fretting over periods and pimples and popularity problems.


It's almost heavenly how silence settles over the house like warm velvet... How the birds outside can be heard chirping in the treetops...the refrigerator hums...the day is open and free for reading a novel, painting the bathroom, or watching a Gray's Anatomy marathon.

All the beds down the hallway are neatly made. There are no giant backpacks blocking the doorway, no wrinkled jeans thrown across the floor, no lights left burning to keep the electric company in business.

I sip my coffee, my feet up on the footstool, a fresh magazine nearby ready to read and coupons waiting to be clipped. 


But, I gravitate to the three doors down the hall. Empty bedrooms that once held blooming children. Kids that grew overnight like fragile flowers. Teens that filled the house with laughter and music and all things sacred.


I touch the doorknob to Erin's room. Enter. See her many picture frames soft with dust...college days...cruises...important friendships...

She was my first. Always the one with the gentle heart, the compassionate soul...the just-right amount of shyness and spunk. She has my eyes and I miss seeing them each morning, ready to start a new day. She was my shopping companion, my sounding board, (my partner in diet crimes!) ...

Next spring she will be married... Pull that apron string a little thinner and build a new life of love and dreams and babies of her own. But she will always be here in this room...



I go into Becca's room. Although married almost twelve years ago, I can still see her applying makeup, trying on clothes and talking on the phone past bedtime. I hear her silly giggle...her crazy demands...those humorous faces that would lead us all into fits of laughter. She was always stubborn, rebellious- but with a kind heart that shone through that tough exterior.

She has embarked on a new life. A new town. New people and places and loves that take her further from this place called "home".
All that's left of her in this room are the glowing plastic stars on the ceiling. Still shining. Still a beacon of light.
Just like her...


Across the hall. Jake's room. Memories flood back of Penny Hardaway posters, baseball gloves, hunting camo, four-wheeler magazines and Ninja Turtles....I can still see him sleeping in...snoozing past the alarm and dreaming of boy things..

When was the last time he slept here as my child? Not as a college student, home on weekends- but as a young man that still enjoyed Mom's goodnight kiss, my dry pancakes and dumb jokes?...
He will be married in September. But some of his love will always breathe within these walls and his handsome smile linger forever here. I am so proud of him.



I go back to the kitchen and pour myself another cup of coffee. My heart is thick and full of bittersweet memories. And a tear rolls down my cheek.  

Oh, but I know how blessed I am with these children!


Behind the three doors down the hall, I can still hear them blooming.

20 comments:

mybabyjohn said...

Hang in there, they have a habit of coming back. Sometimes they clone themselves and then come back. Seriously, you are NEVER done being a parent and home is ALWAYS home.

Name: Luana Krause said...

Your family will always be with you in your heart and in your memories. You are blessed.

Joanne said...

Your post made me cry! I have a 9 year-old and a 13-year-old and time is flying by so fast. I DREAD them leaving for college! (I'm gonna need therapy) ;o) I just can't imagine a day that they are not here watching cartoons and playing in the back yard with friends. Beautiful heartfelt post! Thank you. Blessings, Joanne

N. R. Williams said...

How sweet. My daughter moved back home with her son, four months old. No quiet here. But I love them.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Mama Jewel said...

Oh, the empty nest memories! You put it all precisely the way it is. But, your empty nest hasn't been empty very long.....I too felt so lost and sad when they moved out. Kari never went away to college...she lived under our roof until the day she got married. I remember that night so well. I heard Kelli up in the living room..I got up to check on her and she was sitting on the couch crying...she said "she's never coming back to live her again"! I started crying and then her Dad woke up and came in and asked what was going on...soon all 3 of us were sitting there on the couch crying! LOL The next day Kelli cleared out Kari's room and moved her stuff in the bigger bedroom! When Kelli left for college, I cried all the way home when we dropped her off at the dorm. When she graduated and moved to St.Louis and lived by herself...I worried myself sick, until she got engaged and married a great guy! It's all a part of life...theirs and ours and it's supposed to happen that way. Rick and I are closer and Kari will have her 20th wedding anniversary in July...great husband and 2 wonderful children. Kelli has now been married 9 years to the love of her life and has 2 boys, 5 and 2 with a little girl on the way the end of May! How blessed that they left the nest, flew away, and enriched not only their lives but ours as well!

RJR said...

Yikes, I started off agreeing about the sticky door knobs, they are the bane of my life. Then as I read on and realised what you describe missing, is what I experience daily now. Wake up call !!! I need to start treasuring these moments more, my eldest is 17 and my days are numbered

THANK YOU !


RJRmodels

Sherrie said...

Hi!
mybabyjohn has it right. They do come back eventually. Mine did and brought the grandbabies with them. Now I have new babies to love. Have a great day!

Sherrie
Just Books

GAIL said...

I would give just about anything if I could just once more hear that child voice calling down the hallway..every night...."Mom! I love you! Goodnight!!"
Your post made me cry for the past but it also felt good to feel those memories again.
Hugs, Gail

sisterlinda said...

Put me in the catagory of the "cry babies"...I cried also. It is beyond me how the years have flown by! Of course I have YET to experience the empty nest as MINE CAME BACK..with an extra mouth to feed! I really don't mind and I cry just to think of Izzy one day leaving this place for good...but I am looking forward to days of book reading, less laundry, no cleaning up after a 3 year old and just plain old piece and quiet and alone time with my husband!

Jan Morrison said...

wonderful writing. mine left twenty years ago - both and then I left and so that is how that has gone. Now I have step-teens and they are gathering their energy for the big trip out and away...
Jan Morrison

Margaret Hall said...

Tears*
This was undoubtedly one of your very best writes, dear friend..
Enough said....

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