I stood on the threshold of my oldest son's room.
"Just close the door," my husband whispered in my ear.
I did, surprised I didn't have to press the catastrophic chaos past the door frame in order for the door to shut. I closed his door for most of his teens years because
I didn't want to invade his personal space: As a keeper of diaries and blank books, the last thing I wanted was to stumble across his secret musings during a sneak-in-before-he-gets-home cleaning session. He also kept an array of paints for his die-cast models on his desk. I didn't want to stunt his creativity by moving his artistic tools out of alignment.
I couldn't discern how to make sense of the disaster zone: I guessed he had some rhyme and reason for his piles, but I didn't get what it was. It all looked so overwhelming.
I had other rooms to clean: I have a husband, three boys, two dogs, and a cat. And myself. Enough said.
I have other things to do besides clean: All mothers do.
I shouldn't have to clean up his mess: So much truth in this statement! Yet, all mothers find themselves cleaning up messes that are not their own. (I do mentally chastise myself for leaving my stash on the center island of the kitchen. I loathe seeing their collections sitting there. Why is it okay that I create my own dumping ground?)
I had this notion that he should clean up his own mess: I knew what was coming. I knew one day he would be on his own, and I wanted to prepare him for the reality that somewhat shocked me as a young adult living on my own: No one else is going to clean up after you if you don't do it yourself.
Now this son is a full-fledged adult who has flown from the nest to experience a European-exchange program before completing his college experience at the end of this year. He knows more things about computer security than I can decipher. He has become his own person.
But, he left some of his clothes and things behind.
Somehow that is okay with me. I folded and arranged his clothes, making them ready for when he returns in the summer. I organized what used to be his room and is now my husband's office/music room. I didn't close the door on this opportunity to welcome him to his childhood home he has so wonderfully outgrown.
I also left his old shoes by the backdoor. Just in case he needs them again someday.