The past few days have been spent re-arranging the boys' bedroom. Their room has always been a mess, but the past few years have been a little bit better. They still throw their clothes on the floor and I find cups and the usual teenage boy messes. My kids need room. They need their own rooms, but since that isn't happening anytime soon, we do what we can to make space. Years ago, Rob and I decided to switch bedrooms with the boys so they could have more room to play. They use the master bedroom and it's worked out really great.
Aaron (who will be 21 this December) and I got rid of a ton of his old stuff and re-arranged his bed so that he could not only have more room to work at his desk, but also so he could play his guitar without banging it against his wall. It worked out just fine. We had a lot of fun doing this. We found things that he hadn't seen in ages. "It's like Christmas!" he joked.
Tonight, Alex (turning 17 this October) and I tackled his side. Again we went through a lot of his stuff and found things that he too had totally forgotten about. We threw out a bunch of his stuff. We rearranged his bed, TV and the table it sits on. He can now sit on the floor, use a pillow to lean against the end of Aaron's bed and play video games and watch movies.
Prior to doing this, I dug out our old VCR. I had tried to hook it up to our flatscreen with no luck. On a whim, I decided to try hooking it up to Al's TV. VOILA! I popped in a tape to test it. Ocean City July 4th. Alex was probably four, making Aaron almost eight. I had not seen videos of my kids in years. At least five years, maybe longer. My precious babies! Their little bodies. Their tiny voices. At one point, the kids had light sticks as it was getting dark. Swinging his, Alex warned his father, "Dad, lookout! I'm gonna get you with my life-saver!" It was all I could do not to run and hug Alex, who was sitting on his bed, grinning but clearly embarrassed. We watched for a bit longer. I popped in another tape that had no label. I have a ton of those! This one was my father-in-law's 60th surprise birthday party. 1993. Aaron was 19 months old. My husband's grandfather was in this video. So were many folks we have not seen in years. Dad looked so amazing. Aaron was grumpy and very clingy.
Seeing my children so young and looking around at their room, and looking at the pile of things either being thrown out or things that will be given away made me realize that they are no longer little kids. Sure, they are far from grown, but the realization that I will never step on another Lego in this apartment ever again hit me hard. No more Bionicles being sucked up into the vacuum. Aaron packed his book of Pokemon Cards away. Perhaps to sell. We still have board games up in the closet. Looking around their room, it could be a bachelor pad. Save for the Mario poster, and the board games, it really could be mistaken for one. Video game hero posters have been replaced with Skateboard heroes on Aaron's side, and Salvador Dali and black light posters on Alex's side.
I think back to when they were little. I remember getting so angry when their room was "a disaster" and Legos, action figures, cars, trucks, and dinosaurs littered their floor. I look at their room now and get a little sad. I think about my little boys and their toys. They're both gone, now. Young men have replaced those little boys. Young men that I am very proud of. A lot of the time their bedroom door is closed. I respect that. But it's also nice to know that all I have to do is knock and I am welcomed in.
I know someday in the near future that room may be empty. So for now, I will smile when I hear Aaron strumming on his guitar. I'll smile when I hear Alex leading Link to the princess in The Legend of Zelda. I'll still get irritated when I see clothes strewn about their floor, but I know there will come a day when I won't see that anymore. I have always told them that I will not clean up their room. If they choose to live like that, so be it.
I have picked my battles and won. I did save a tin of marbles. How we loved playing marbles! Maybe I'll step on one.