The Last Time I Cleaned My Daughter’s Room

I am cleaning my daughter’s room today.

I know. So what else is new. We ask our kids to clean their rooms over and over again and how often do they do it the first time. If you have a trick for getting it done without an argument, please, I think we would all like to know.

This time is different though. See, I asked her to clean her room and sort through her stuff the summer before she left for college, but she was too caught up in getting ready for her new life at school.

I cleaned her room that time and then asked her to make sure it was clean when she went back to school after Christmas break, then spring break, then summer break. The first two years, anyway. Then, there was no spring break or summer break. Those were spent with friends or near campus because she worked.

She started a job right after graduation from college.

I asked her to please clean her room and sort through her stuff before she left for her new job in another state. But, they wanted her to start right away.

I asked her to sort through her stuff after she came home for Christmas the first time. She filled two boxes: one marked ‘save’ and one marked ‘donate’. It barely makes a dent. Then, with a hug and a kiss, she returned to that state down south where she probably has another bedroom with new stuff for her new life.

My husband moved her from her place in the south to her new place in the Rockies last November. He drove her home for Thanksgiving before she flew away again once more.

I guess she didn’t need anything from her room. That was two lives ago.

So, today I clean her room. I take down her Twilight posters — wasn’t she on Team Jacob? Or was it Team Edward? We used to go to lunch and the movies with her sisters and cousins almost every teacher in-service day. We loved the series of movies from Harry Potter and Twilight. We even went at midnight one year dressed as pirates to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  

I fold her collection of soccer jerseys pinned to the walls. Her team jerseys mixed in with those of her favorite players. I remember the last game of her senior year when the coach moved her from her defensive position up front for a corner kick during a tie game and she scored off a shoulder/header. I stack pictures of friends from high school on one pile and pictures of friends from college on another. I hope she has as many friends now. 

I sort through her formal gowns remembering how her braces made her look like she was playing dress up on homecoming of her freshman year. I find her junior prom dress. She didn’t look like a kid anymore by then. She looked like a beautiful woman. She IS a beautiful woman.

It is taking me much longer than I planned to sort through my daughter’s life  stuff. I examine each picture. She is such a life force. I touch each memory and can almost feel her still in the house. I fill boxes and bags until everything can be moved out of the room painted dark purple with fairy lights strung up so we can paint it a mossy green and replace the furniture with something suitable for guests.

I know I need to move faster, but cannot. And, I know that when I finish this room, there is a bright yellow room with hanging beads and flowers on the wall waiting for me across the hall to sort the memories of another daughter who has moved on to adulthood too.

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