Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Company's Coming?

My daughter is coming home from college this weekend, and my husband is in "preparation for visiting dignitary" mode. He wants to clean her room, take care of her car, buy her a pony....

Okay, I made up that last one.

I'm not saying that these are bad ideas (Except for the pony. That's a bad idea). I'm just wondering when our kid became a visiting dignitary. I mean, we didn't clean her room when she lived here, so why would we do it now? If you ask me, it's a dangerous precedent to put in place.

There's definitely an organizational shift that occurs when a home begins to morph into an empty nest. In some ways, things are tidier, and in others....well let's just say one of us has picked up the "expand all my stuff into multiple rooms" baton, and it isn't the one wielding the vacuum and the car keys.

Having a kid away at college means having more room, only not. While the shared living spaces are shared among one less person, a bedroom stands untouched, waiting, which, in my opinion, is exactly how it ought to be.

But how should it be waiting?

Right now, it looks just like it did when she left in August, except that the piles of clothes to be transported to school in October have been replaced with different piles -- the magazines she subscribes to and other items requiring her attention. Her clean clothes, meanwhile, are hanging in the basement, on the rod with other clean clothes that haven't yet made it to their destinations -- the blessing/curse of a basement laundry room. I'm tempted to bring her things upstairs and put them away, but my "away" isn't her "away," and I find myself trying to build a bridge with comfort and familiarity on one side and an acknowledgement of the independence and organizational sovereignty of a quasi-independent young adult on the other.

So, while my husband tackles his chosen tasks, I tackle mine, our organizational styles becoming subordinate to our love languages. The man with the "Acts of Service" love language clears the dust while the woman with the "Quality Time" love language clears her calendar. Together, we'll shop for our daughter's favorite snacks and stock the kitchen, and, our combined efforts (while not the perfect picture of coordinated organizational skills), will make sure our daughter is returning not just to her house, but to her home.

No matter what her bedroom looks like.

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