I should be happy, really I should. After seven years of talking about it, my DH has finally agreed to opening a bed and breakfast. We have three empty bedrooms on the second floor, after all, a cool historic location, and lots of energy for a couple of fifty-somethings. We like to wake up early, and we know something about preparing food for a crowd. The city is planning to build a walking trail right past our house.
Next step: get the rooms ready. Remove personal items belonging to our children. Start with DD's beautiful tower bedroom, dubbed the "Princess Room" by her little cousins, who love to stay there.
Forgive me if I have told this story before. When I was expecting our first child, I fixed up a lovely nursery in yellow, turquoise and pink. This was in our little house in College Park, Maryland. When our darling daughter was born, she slept in said sweet nursery for five months before we moved to the Comoro Islands. Nothing fit in our new home in the tropics and despite all my best efforts, the little nest I had made for our firstborn was gone.
Fast forward sixteen years or so, to our move to our current castle. We built another nest for our baby girl, now a junior in high school, with sparkly lace curtains and the period-inappropriate bamboo floors she wanted. Her dad bought an ugly black metal bunk bed while I was away in Washington, but I dressed it in lavender, mint green and pink. The ceiling fan was ultra-modern, the fixtures brushed aluminum.
You can guess what happened. DD lived in that room all of six months before heading out to spend her senior year in France. I stood in the princess's empty tower, on those bamboo floors, under that ceiling fan, and mourned.
Still, during her four years at the state university thirty miles up the road, our daughter came home frequently to recharge her batteries within the round green walls of her tower. For five years, she brought the love of her life, in whom I invested emotionally, too, and then suddenly he wasn't the love of her life anymore, and we both mourned the loss.
Every time DD came and went, more and more stuff got left behind. Journals. Sketchbooks. Jewelry. Posters. Class notes. Guitar chords. Lots of rocks. A Dremel drill, unused, that her dad bought her for making jewelry with the rocks. Photographs of her former love.
And now it is my job to sort through all that stuff and leave only the things that a stranger might understand and appreciate. I worked valiantly for several hours, traveling randomly through various episodes in the life of our little girl, now an independent young woman whom we are fiercely proud of, and now it is all too much, and I can't bear to put one more thing in a plastic tub today.
The princess has left the building.