empty nest, refeathered

When my daughter, Emilia, was in high school, there was a TV commercial on the air that portrayed a mother who transformed her kid’s room into a fancy-shmancy spa-bathroom within minutes of his departure for college. We used to tease each other about that ad.

“That’s what we’re going to do,” I promised.

“Don’t you dare,” she’d say.

And of course, I didn’t.

Until very recently, Emilia’s room looked pretty much the way it did when she was a high school senior. It’s not that we made a shrine out of it. The closet and drawers have slowly been emptied, the surfaces cleared of cosmetics. Many of the postcards and collages came off the walls a while back. Nonetheless, several of her posters remained. The bedspread faded from brown to beige. We didn’t add a thing.

But as of this fall, it’s been five years since she lived here so ….

No, Jim and I did not turn it into a spa bathroom or a home gym. It’s still the room Emilia lived in during middle school, high school, and some summer weeks as a college student. And I know she’ll feel comfortable in “her” room, when she returns for Thanksgiving next week.

But it’s not exactly the same. We bought some some curtains and a new coverlet. We moved the furniture around and peeled the tape off the walls (well as much as we could) and hung some new pictures among the old.

And now that we did it, I’m as pleased about how nice it looks as I am wistful about this little, private milestone.

It was time.

Change is good.


  1. Jingran on December 1, 2008 at 1:29 am

    I am doing a research paper on The Red Tent. So I came here to know more about the author, you, of course.
    And your words make me homesick…
    I am away from my family now, and I believe my mom feels the same way.

  2. emilia on December 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    it looks good. i approve.

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