Empty Nest Moms, This One’s For You.

When Is the right time to clean out an adult son’s boyhood bedroom? (And I say “son” ‘cos I had one child, a boy, and never experienced what it’s like being the mom of a girl.)


This was the week I did it. Cleaned my son’s room, I mean. Fifteen years after he moved out, or as I like to refer to it, when my darling Angel Boy abandoned his mommy.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m the antithesis —  the total opposite — of a “free range” mom.

Need an example?

I carried Angel Boy until he was about seven-years-old, when his legs dangled to the ground, and he was ALMOST my size.

In this photo, he’s probably thirteen-years-old or so, my little Harry Potter look alike, already taller than me. See that MOMjoy? All it takes is being next to him to bring out that kind of a smile. (And that swishy track suit was all the rage in the 90s, I promise you.)

jasonroomom

So, don’t make me say the dreaded words; “moved out”.

That’s bittersweet and rife with sadjoy (my new word all moms should immediately start using in our daily conversations.)

Sad he’s gone, but joy and pride in his accomplishments and goals. Mostly sad, though.

The purge. Well, more accurately; the relocation.
jasonroomclean1From the first grade, a diorama of the Carlsbad sea wall that his dad built — dinosaur books, academic awards, handwritten spelling tests, report cards, a writing prompt about what the future might hold (potential editor of National Lampoon)…one of the last Valentine’s Day cards made for me before that tragic discovery of the wonderful world of females who are NOT Mom–jasonroomclean2

And so many books: Chaucer to Mann to Goethe to Faulkner, Welty, Shakespeare, all the books from fifteen years of college and graduate school.

In a bookish family like ours, it’s a tough Sophie’s choice kind of dilemma: how does one determine which book might not have value? It’s pretty much impossible.

But here’s the real question…

Is there ever a right time to clean out an adult son’s boyhood bedroom?

The answer to that — for me– has always and will forever be a resounding NO! NEVER! — until I came up with the brilliant idea of simply moving things to another area, saved and protected, organized into plastic tubs to be stored in the garage, thus not purging nor destroying parts of him which is really part of me, but preserving forever and forever my Angel Boy’s childhood which means he hasn’t really grown up and gotten married and moved away and doesn’t need his mommy anymore…SIGH.

Wait a sec, let me wipe away dust-streaked tears. SIGH.

Sniff.

Buck up, Princess Rosebud, there’s still hope, he might be back, adult children DO return home, sometimes they DO need to fly back INTO the nest, so all is not completely lost.

Something to cling to, to be prepared for. Happily.

Every picture, every single scrap of scribbled upon paper, every college application, all art projects from the age of two, baby books, envelopes of baby curls, baby teeth the Tooth Fairy saved, that fallen off shred of shriveled umbilical cord (yes, Angel Boy, I told you we were forever connected, how could you doubt me?)

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like his room hasn’t been cleaned properly in the thirty years we’ve lived in this house, because it has, but we had stored everything that belonged to him in his closet — just in case he needed that one specific item for any reason.

Or in case he decides to start collecting baseball cards again–of which there are THOUSANDS.

I’m a hoarder, not a tosser;  he and I share this attribute. Although the one and only item we’ve ever tossed out will forever haunt tugboat man and I…his favorite skateboard.

Angel Boy hadn’t sk8d in years, the half pipe ramp in our backyard disintegrated and had been torn down; who would have known that it meant so much to him? Apparently, MOM should have known, but one summery day, tugboat man and I were cleaning out the garage, and did the horrible-est thing EVER — we put the sk8board out in the street instead of framing and hanging on the wall. This was about ten years ago, and my son won’t let us forget how we failed him.

Guilt and shame compels us to regularly offer to replace the board; however, no new board could possibly subsume the sweet memories of that fave —  but we learned our lesson and promised to NEVER again summarily throw away any item that might contain a shred of sentiment without prior authorization. In writing.

Now that his room is so pristine. So vacant. So unoccupied.

I wonder.

What if…

For Rent: One room. Three meals, snacks, and yes, one very sadjoy empty nest MOTHER included…

jasonroompaint

Daily Prompt: If You Leave

http://www.brainlesstales.com/2010-11-23/fork-in-the-road
http://www.brainlesstales.com/2010-11-23/fork-in-the-road

“Should I stay or should I go now…”

Aren’t those the lyrics to a song? I think so; and I’ll search for it in a minute. (Oh yeah, it’s the Clash. It’s really about a relationship, but still slightly relevant.)

I’m not often prompted to follow the prompt of a Daily Prompt, but this one spoke to me because I’m at a crossroads — in the midst of a decision to stay or go…

…to the BlogHer Conference in July in San Jose.

I bought my pass the first day it was announced so I received an Early Bird discount and I have a Southwest ticket I need to use since it’s already paid for, but I’m not sure if I want to go.

I’m not sure what I’ll find there or if it’s worth it to attend.

In the beginning of my blogging journey, I was a newbie; gung-ho to write and purge and acquire readers and followers and belong to groups that seemed to be JUST LIKE ME.

Then I realized that I don’t really fit in.

THERE IS NO ONE JUST LIKE ME.

I am unique.

Except for the animal loving, pet picture sharing, SAHM, love-to-shop crowd, I don’t have a whole lot in common with other mid-lifers.

For example, I don’t feel like sharing in great detail how my eyes are failing me, my cholesterol levels are high, or my vaginal dryness is preventing me from enjoying the penis of my choice.

I am by nature a private person and don’t feel the need to overshare on social media, plus my tugboat man hub won’t even let me take a pic of his face OR use our real names.

I don’t and never have had hot flashes, I work out at the gym pretty much every day, and I have the agility and flexibility of a twenty-year-old — one who isn’t stuck to her iPhone 24/7.

For the record, I have great cholesterol levels, I’ve always worn glasses or contacts so nothing new there to complain about, and the only meds I take on a regular basis is Levoxyl for a slightly low performing thyroid.

I thought I could make a go of monetizing my blog, but I don’t really think most BRANDS find me representative of any demographic, so there goes that dream. I don’t have a lot brand loyalty (just Chanel haha).

Except for occasional retail therapy/shopaholic excursions, I’m a pretty thrifty gal, grow our own veggies, bake from scratch, and I drive a thirty-year-old vehicle.

What’s the point of going to a blogging conference?

The other attendees include women whom I naively thought were going to be part of a joyous and nurturing community of other writer/bloggers –but are really just midlife mean girls.

There’s a level of snarky schadenfreude competitive behavior that is very distasteful; not what I expected.

There are more and more female bloggers grasping for whatever dollars are out there, a huge pool of women jumping up and down, shouting “choose me, choose me!”, vying to be the wittiest, most outrageous, “Most Likely To Go Viral” and thereby fight their way to the top of the heap.

I didn’t hang with those girls in high school and I don’t find any kinship there now.

That’s not me.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t met some remarkable women that I totes respect and like and would love to hang with — and you know who you are…BUT I’m in the middle of a crossroads now.

So, do I stay or do I go?

As you can surmise, I’m a bit saddened and disenchanted.

My motivation to begin blogging was fueled by my DIL who told me I was funny and a good writer and I should  blog for exposure in that realm — to earn an income  by writing, something I could do from home while my tugboat man is out to sea for months at a time.

It sounded like a great idea, and a blogging conference seemed like a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and meet INDUSTRY EXPERTS, but now I just don’t know. I don’t seem to have the skills to crack the code. I’ve consulted with a couple of blogexperts and they both told me a blog needs a million views to be competitive. WTF? I thought my nearly 70,000 74,000 was pretty spectacular but I was wrong. Obviously.

Am I just scared to go by myself? Am I full of sour grapes?

What do YOU think? Should I stay or should I go?

http://youtu.be/GqH21LEmfbQ

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Daily Prompt: If You Leave

by Krista on March 12, 2014

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CROSSROADS.

by Krista on March 12, 2014

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

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