Older Son made his way home this week to begin the long-procrastinated process of packing up his bedroom. He has lived out of the house for most of the past 4 years, and he is finally making the move into his first adult (read: not student!) place of residence. He asked if he could take certain items from the room (like the bed and bookcases) to seed the new place, and The Husband and I were more than willing to accommodate his request, provided that he clean up the space to our satisfaction and toss the crap that has been accumulating over his entire lifetime. After spending most of Tuesday evening cloistered in the room with boxes and garbage bags, he informed me that he has pretty much decided which items would be making the move to the new place and which items would be staying put. STAYING PUT????? I don't want any of it to stay put. I told him that if he left it behind, I would toss it into a dumpster-much to his chagrin. There is stuff in there from his elementary school days, Mad magazines that are at least 5-10 years old, and keepsakes from his camper days. There are clothes in the closet that haven't been worn since Clinton was president (in fairness-most of these are t-shirts from camp!) and video tapes that he can't play anymore because he doesn't own a VCR. (who does?) Now, I am as sentimental as any mother could be, but my attitude is to pack up the memories in a box and heave the rest out with the trash. When I tried to voice my concerns that his room was fast becoming my junk pile, he categorically stated "Don't worry, Mom!" (I hate those three words!!) "I will move everything to the peripheries of the room so that they will be out of the way." My heated response was "Get this shit out of here, NOW!" Funny how we fall back into old parent/child dynamics. The truck is coming on Saturday to move the big stuff and I plan on attending Shabbat morning services so that I don't have to watch his landfill project transfer to my home. I have given him a deadline of June 30th. Whatever is left goes to Goodwill.
And then there is Younger Son. His freshman year at university is finally at an end, and he returned home yesterday complete with duffle bags and boxes packed to overflowing. I truly don't recall sending him off in September with all of that shit. I offered to drive down with The Husband to pick him up, but I was told that there probably wasn't enough room in the car for all of his crap and me. (Nice isn't it, how I have been lumped in with the crap?) We got him and his paraphernalia into the house and, of course he had trouble finding space for all of it. He asked if he could store some of the crap in Older Son's room, and suffice it to say that the sarcasm that dripped from my mouth is not really printable in this family-style blog. "Just for a while, Mom!" (a few more words that I hate!) He did manage to hide the worst of the mess, so at least I don't have to see it. (Where it is is a true mystery, but I am not tempting the fates.) He came downstairs after the unpacking, raided the refrigerator, asked what was for dinner and vegetated in front of the TV all evening. (4 exams in 3 days!) He then reminded me that he was taking off the next morning for a 5 day road-trip with his frat buddies and that he would see me on Monday. He departed this morning leaving his bed unmade (I guess the maid will get to it?) and a wet towel in the bathroom. He will be back for a few days and then off again next weekend. He is working at camp for the summer and departs at the end of the month, but in the meantime I am dreading the grocery bills. I have become his weigh station.
When people advise you of the "Empty Nest Syndrome", they rarely warn you that it is a temporary state of being. You see, once you have children they are yours for life. They never really and truly leave you. Instead, they leave remnants of their presence in every hall, room and crevice of your personal space. I love my boys, really I do, and I love having them around, but I just don't happen to love all of their stuff. My days as a hotelier are at an end.