A friend came by to see our new house last week Nothing really ‘new’ about this 50’s ranch but I welcomed the chance to show it off. She marveled at the view from all the windows of the grand trees which surround us and we giggled at the constant creaking of the floors.
As she opened the door to my daughter’s room, my heart sank. Clothes were heaped everywhere, dresses flung on the floor, dirty Kleenex, candy wrappers, a half-eaten apple, and an unmade bed. Her bathroom, however, made the bedroom look like the Sistine chapel.
Her room has looked like this for so long that I didn’t even cringe when my friend said, ‘Gosh, she’s as messy as my son!’ And while I have asked her to clean it hundreds of times, it still looks as if the person who lives there is careless and uncaring.
Now experts on the subject say that kids’ rooms are messy because they, “have too much” or because they are “exerting their independence.” And while both points of view have value, my take is this: Your room reflects who you are.
As a teenager, my own room had a posters of Led Zepplin and the Doors on the walls. An incense burner sat on my dresser, love beads hung from my desk lamp and my stuffed animals snuggled on the paisley bedspread. Granny even let me tape peace symbols across the windows. Those were my statements of independence.
So truth is, I don’t really want my daughter to just ‘clean her room’. I want her to value her clothes like her friends and not just dump them on the floor when she is through with them. I want her to realize that not capping the toothpaste or nail polish is like hanging up on someone without saying, “Good-bye.” I want her to understand that leaving gooey trash on a strand of pearls or a white, silk blouse, is like cussing in the middle of a Keats poem.
When my daughter walks into this room of her own, I want her to own it as the full expression of who she IS. So that anyone who crosses her threshold in the future will see her best self not the one on view at present. Before I post this, though, better be sure that I made my bed this morning. I have to lie in it.