Perfectly time

A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.

-General George S. Patton

A quote like that can only mean one thing is afoot Chez Harlot, and that thing, my stalwart friends, is my old nemesis… home renovation. I’ve spoken before about the fact that my house has, to be rather frank – some problems. It’s a tiny Victorian semi, 120 years old, so some things about it are a given, and It’s about a thousand times better than when we came to live in it, when there was a hole in the kitchen wall that went to the outside and allowed every single raccoon in the neighbourhood to use this building as their local whorehouse/crackden -but it wouldn’t be very hard to upgrade a family home past that, if you know what I mean. An eviction notice to any mammals who weren’t us – coupled with a piece of plywood and a few nails made us feel like we were living like royalty. We’ve got new walls and some of that fancy “insulation” in most of the house now, the kitchen was redone 8 years ago, the piece of crap lean-to on the back of the house became my office, we redid our bedroom, laid new floors in the downstairs… It’s very slow going, but we get there.

Now, this wee house is only a 3 bedroom and they aren’t big bedrooms, so Meg and Sam have shared for years, and Amanda had her own room. Amanda moved out recently (months ago, actually, but I didn’t want to mention it in case she wanted to come home – I didn’t want her to have to ‘fess up to the blog that she had changed her mind) she’s happy, 19, in her second year of college and doing just fine, and as much as sometimes I wish she would come back… I don’t think she’s going to.

I know I should be happy about that, motherhood is, after all – about putting yourself out of business and creating functioning humans who do leave you if you do it right, and most days I am thrilled that she’s moving along properly, because we were totally starting to drive each other crazy, and she’s not quite out in the big bad world, since she’s moved in with my mother – who is closer to the college and work, and is making for an excellent intermediate step towards total and complete independence. (It has taken me a while to wrap my head around the idea that moving in with my mother is a step towards independence – since for me it was moving away from the same woman.. but I’m learning. My mother is a very different grandmother than she was a parent – the proof of this being that she has given my children cream soda floats, which when I was growing up were treated as the nutritional equivalent of heroin and turned up with about the same frequency.. but I digress.)

In any case, Amanda moved out and I just let her room sit there. I moved nothing. I didn’t even close the door. Her room sat there (since March, if you must know) and her sisters (still crowded into their one wee space) eyed this room with the focus of vultures circling a carcass – and they had absolutely no regard for my emotional process. They argued and dreamed continually about the day that they would no longer share a room, and the room taunted them. I couldn’t commit. I don’t know why it was hard for me, but it felt unfaithful to Amanda, who was understandably hesitant to see her room in our home wiped from the earth – and so the room still sat there.

Eventually, Amanda took most of her stuff out, and Megan started talking about just taking the room. A guerilla move. Just waltzing in there and installing her things like a squatter and that would be that.. and while she was talking about usurping property right out from under me, that’s when I woke up and smelled the coffee. Our house was too tiny to have a room unused, and Meg should be using it. It wasn’t reasonable to hold a room for the possibility that an adult child who was totally old enough to be out of it would want to come back, and waiting for it to feel right, or for it to be perfect just wasn’t going to happen. Amanda was absolutely not going to say “Yeah man, give my sister my room, I don’t need a safety net, I’m sure I’ll never, ever need my mother again.” (or at least she was never going to say it like she meant it.) I was never going to feel like I should close that door on her. I was never going to want to paint over the yellow daisies I painted on the walls for Amanda when she was 14. I was never going to want to see the loft bed torn down, even though there isn’t anybody in this house who’s short enough to sleep in it anymore. It was never going to be perfect. It was never going to feel right…

but it is time, and now while the room is empty is the right time to rip down the loft bed, paint and tidy up the room and make it Meg’s. Time marches, and we renovate in it’s wake.

So that’s what we’re doing.

225 thoughts on “Perfectly time

  1. Honey, you’re breaking my heart…and I don’t even *have* children! But just think about how happy Meg and Sam will be. That degree of peace and harmony in the household (I’m guessing this will be the result, at least for a day or two) will help with the emotional trauma. Renovation pictures soon?

  2. Aw, progress can be painful.
    I applaud Meg and Sam for their patience! I think most teenagers would have had it marked as theirs on the first suggestion of college applications.

  3. Relax, breathe, take time to knit. Renovations are right up there with the high stress factors. Good luck.
    Ex-To Girl

  4. i remember when this happened to my room in my mom’s house. it wasn’t near as traumatic as i thought it would be, and now it’s a great little book/office room!
    good luck with the renovations!

  5. Applause! This is good for you, good for Amanda, and good for Meg. . . not to mention Sam, who gets her own room too. Now think of the fun of redecorating, for both Meg and Sam (because you know Sam will want to change a few things now that her room is exclusively hers). And remember, the girls are old enough to pick the colors and apply the paint.

  6. What a powerful writer you are. You’re breaking my heart too and I don’t even have children. I do have a big sister though and even though I now have my own flat I still remember the joy of getting the room to myself once she moved to uni. Enjoy it Meg!

  7. I can so relate. During the past year, both my 20 year old and 23 year old sons moved out. Traumatic? Yes, until I started realizing the possiblities. My own craft room! I have totally taken over now that remodeling is over. And–I actually see more of the youngest son now than I did when he was home.

  8. The very day I started to turn my son’s old room into a sewing room, he left a message for me saying he’d broken up with his girlfriend, and was moving back in with us that night. It was like safety net ESP.

  9. Hi Steph,
    I can really relate. I left my daughters room just the way she left it for months thinking that she might change her mind about leaving. Motherhood is such an interesting journey. It takes constant adjustment to the different stages of the kids’ lives. Good luck withthe renovations.

  10. This first one is the hardest, really it is. It does get easier as everything goes along in it’s natural progression. But be warned, that last one flying the nest is rough. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Loved your post, full of memories for me. I am a newbie to this blog, to your books, and to knitting! Love all of them and have started my first BIG project and feeling oh so talented…..till I drop a couple of stitches! Good luck on the renovations.

  11. This is a wonderful thing & will make a bunch of memebers of your house happy.
    As to the difference between Grandma-hood & Mom-hood, well, with 3 girls I’m sure you will someday find out. I’ve seen good friends that raised their kids just a bit ahead of my son that are now grandparents & have lost their flippin’ minds….and are merrily doing all those things that would never have occurred with their kids. Something about being able to send them home after feeding them a whole pan of brownies & 3 bottles of Mt. Dew while providing noisy toys for the trip home……
    My own husband is plotting such things & our son doesn’t even have a girlfriend!

  12. Jeez it’s a hard thing to do but as my dear old Dad used to say “”Take the bull by the horns and just go for it” Of course in your case it’s the room and I’m sure you are going to have two absolutely delighted girls under your roof. good luck and Ihope you don’t find any surprises as you renovate

  13. Oh, dear…Are you sure you’re up to this, Stephanie? I still remember the white-paint-for-the woodword trauma!

  14. Oh, you just wait. Heavens above that you should move like we did. First words out of two, count them two, grown daughters (29 & 25) was, “what do you mean I won’t have a bedroom in the new house!??” So, instead of downsizing, we are still walking past two bedrooms, just waiting to be used on Christmas Eve, lest the man in red can’t find them at their own apartments. Geez…would not have it any other way.

  15. It took my mother ages to move things around when my sister and I moved out. My parents have a 2 bedroom cottage, with sis and me sharing, and my brother holed up in a glorified closet/sun porch. I moved out 8 years ago, sister about 4 years ago, and Will just got to move into an actual bedroom about 3 months ago… So you’re ahead of the game by our standard!

  16. You make me feel like a monster! I already have plans for how I am going to turn my eldest daughter’s bedroom into my knitting/sewing/scrapbooking room; and the poor dear is only a sophomore in high school.

  17. I dare not suggest a real office space with a door that others would be forced to acknowledge. –oops, I did.
    I am encouraged to know that your mother has also gone through the transformation that my mother has. It is not uncommon for me to exclaim “Your grandmother was not my mother!”

  18. My heart aches for you (and my future self) as you move forward in this next phase of parenthood. It’s interesting that her leaving is a testament to your good parenting.

  19. It’s tough, but worth it. The girls deserve their own rooms if there is a room to spare, and the fact that they waited this long proves how great they are. I know when one of us moved out of the house, there was a line waiting to claim the space! Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

  20. I have 4 girls, 3 bedrooms, 1 still at home….so, after all these years of bedroom trading I have my own room, after 33 years! It’s great, I still offer the usual, ” oh, you can always come home” always makes them think about what ever they were planning, so far, knock on wood, good decisions! I miss them….

  21. Exciting time for you! The turn-of-the-(previous)-century house I grew up in small-town Iowa had 4 bedrooms: one for my parents, one for my older brother, one for me, & one for my 2 younger brothers. The older brother left home & the 2 other brothers got their own rooms. By then, EVERYONE had their own room! So theoretically speaking: when I left home there was no one to move into it. What I forgot was that Mom’s stashes (yarn, fabrics, and other) were entities of their own! So I think I was gone for a day & my room became the stash room! The folks now live in a different home (all the kids are long-gone) & the entire basement is her stash room! What a lucky duck!

  22. As hard as it is, you’re doing the right thing. I’ve been out of the house around 6 years now and Mom still talks about “my room” in the house (which has been converted into an office/storage room and no longer has a bed). Every once in a while she talks about redoing it properly into an office/guest room. I’ve been gently prodding her towards that end, but it is a little sad.
    Your girls will be so glad to get their own rooms though. I shared a room with my sister for 13 years and when she went to college I finally got my own room. It is a personality changing experience. Don’t be surprised if your household gets a little more peaceful…

  23. I really appreciate how you respect your daughters’ privacy. We don’t hear a word about boyfriends or the real traumas in their lives or anything like that.
    On the other hand, I bet you have a real rip-roarin’ diary.

  24. Clearly, you had to have those apple dumplings at the fair to fortify yourself for the “time marches on” stuff ahead. Take pics of the daisies. Maybe they can be used in a calendar, for the month of Amanda’s birthday.

  25. Mothers’ personalities completely transform when they become grandmothers, I swear.
    I have to admit I was thinking the same thing as cursingmama — an office/spare bedroom might not be a bad idea. But I think you’ve got it right. And, as others have suggested, this will be a good move for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. I had a house fire when I lived in Japan ( back in the ’80s). Being young and foolish, I brought all my most precious books etc with me when I moved there, and thus lost everything in the fire. The gift from that was the realization that those things in themselves were not nearly as precious as the memories that went with them. The memories are still mine :-}
    And hey, I bet you could get some good photos of those daisies :-}

  27. Thank goodness our kids keep moving us forward (easy for me to say, I’ve got about 5 years until my daughter goes). We have a small house too and it just doesn’t make sense to not use the space in the long run.

  28. It must take a bit over a year for us to let go of that first one. We left Oldest’s room alone for the first year, even though his brother asked if he could have it, the day after Oldest left for college. Oldest came home for Christmas and summer, but then said that he probably wouldn’t be back the following summer. Game over! Teen moved in the next day. We did shovel some of it out, first, though.
    Congrats on being a successful mom!

  29. Back when I left home, I was just so flippin’ glad to be out,( and so young I was almost unconscious! ) I didn’t think about the old room. I have two younger brothers who were sharing, so I just assumed one of them would get it, and that’s how it worked out. From what you’ve said Amanda is an independant person so this could very well be a non-issue for her.

  30. And all the paint fumes and dust will excuse a few tears, as well. You’ve done a great job so far. And if Meg and Sam are so keen not to be sharing, maybe they will provide some physical labour to move this process along. Or would that be too difficult?

  31. I’m the third kid. When my sister (the oldest) went to college, nothing changed. When I moved out, I think it took a week for my parents to turn my old room into an office. When I moved back in for a while, I simply used a different room. If Amanda ever does need to come back, you’ll figure it out.
    I feel the same way about motherhood. My job is to turn them into successful adults who don’t need me. Or, in the case of my sons, adults who can convince some other woman to feed and house them. I truly want to turn them into self-sufficient young men, but most days I despair. They’re young yet, though. They DO put their own laundry in the hamper. That’s something, right?

  32. You know, when I left home, my parents IMMEDIATELY transformed my room into the guest room (my brother & sister had their own rooms already) and when I moved back home after a disastrous first attempt out on my own, I didn’t recognize it. Of course, I didn’t have the nice head start Amanda has. Go for it, because Megan deserves a few years with her own room at long last!

  33. Meg will move into Amanda’s room–and she and Sam will still spend nearly every waking hour together in one or the other’s room, leaving the third bedroom in the house empty.
    Plus ca change and all that.

  34. 1) Grandchildren are there to be spoilt. According to my mum, and only since the moment she’s got some herself.
    2) I never really moved out, but gradually my room has been taken over by mum and her hobbies. I guess she realised before I did that I wouldn’t come back. I think I need a little cathartic sob now. *sniff*

  35. You did a great job. The right job–that’s why she was ready to go.
    Now, then. About those apple dumplings…*how could you post those photos*?
    Now I have to make some. With cream cheese pastry, I think.

  36. Re-doing the room will help you to move on! When my oldest son went out into the big world, I turned his room into my yarn room! It is also used as our guest room but we have to ask all potential guests if they have a sheep allergy before we let them stay in my yarn room!

  37. Pics, we want pics! (Before and afters, please) I want to see the daisies before they go, if you’re of a mind to share…Thanks!

  38. As a 18 yr old college freshman, I came home for Thanksgiving and found I had no room–my two sisters had also shared a room. I came back home the following summer (slept in the basement) but that was it–from then on, I was just a guest.
    Much as I had wanted to move on–it was a weird feeling to be a bit homeless.

  39. Much as I wish sometimes that my kids were already moving out ;o) I know it will be hard when it actually happens. It’s an adjustment and a worry, but we have to let them go. After all, rather that than have them living with you when they’re 50!

  40. When I moved out to Uni my sister *helped* me pack, and then started moving her stuff in *before* I had left!
    I was barely out the door and she’d taken it.
    Fair enough, she’d been living in a room not big enough for a double bed (seriously) and mine was, well, plenty big.
    I won’t say I wasn’t hurt by the vulture-like attack, but it did me good. I knew I could still go home, but after you’ve moved away it’s never really “home” in the same way again.
    Amanda will cope, and Meg and Sam will be over the moon to be out of one another’s hair.

  41. My youngest is 18 and lives over the garage. He’s here but he’s not. He always manages to show up when there’s food involved. He’s a senior in high school but taking freshman college classes so it’s been a good transition for us both. However, my daughters both say he’ll never leave home now which I must confess at this point I’m perfectly fine with.

  42. When my son was 18, he moved out of the house (2000 sq ft, just him and me). He just wanted to be on his own and it was an agreeable move out and it lasted two years. I started remodeling this last spring, hoping that if I freshened up everything and made the house “my own” finally, it would suck in people, company for me from time to time (I had never really let people in because I was too embarrassed with the old state of things). Well, the house sure sucked people in….my son moved back in May and brought a roommate and now my nice new living room is populated several nights a week with up to eight 20 yr olds watching movies and playing video games. I let it be known before he moved back in that his room is destined to become my “knitting salon” and he assured me he’d only be here until August…he’s still here. I guess time marches faster in my world.

  43. Hmmm…. I wonder if that’s why my mom hasn’t moved out of our old house yet? She keeps talking about it, and shifting stuff from one room to another. What a mother feels is so beautiful! I can’t wait to have those feelings…

  44. Interesting fellow Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
    My husband has had a few books published on the man.
    Google Charles M. Province and you’ll see.
    Love your blog, travels and especially your family stories.

  45. my son moved out and my mom moved in…. and then my dad. My husband and I were sleeping in my booth outside.
    oi! I think I will go sleep on my son’s couch.

  46. It is a hard process. Making upstanding, independent human beings has it’s downside…they leave you and it is painful and thrilling at the same time.
    My husband and I have triplets….they came in a herd and left, well not all at the same time, but it feels like it.
    I have been redoing their rooms for when they visit as adults (hoping they’d visit. They are all just out of college now). When I started to re-do my crafty/sewing/knitting room, my son said, “Mom, why don’t you take my room for your stuff. It’s bigger.” That’s when it hit me that they were moving on.
    I love my new craft room, but I do miss tripping over the drum kit and remote controls that used to litter the floor.
    Of course there is an upside…I used to do 25 loads of laundry a week during their teenage years.
    Sorry this is so long…..

  47. I’d think she knows she can always come home, even as an adult. I’m a working adult who still lives with her parents since housing in my area is so expensive. A shack is more than $500,000 if it is classified as a house. The money I save on rent goes towards a “new house fund” and I regularly thank my parents for letting mooch off them a bit longer.
    Yay for kind and loving parents!

  48. I had to tell The Younger Brother to wait on moving his stuff in until The Older Sister was packed for college. It was very clear that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ so The Older Sister took a bunch of pictures of ‘her’ room before she left.
    Then, exactly 3 years later His Younger Brother did the very same thing and we had to urge him to wait until the older was out before the younger moved in.
    Now the Youngest Sister is counting the days until she will pack up her stuff to move. Next year she will move there and I will have a Knitting Room!
    Patience pays off (I hope.)

  49. Pff, I give meg props for waiting that long. I shared the backroom with my sister and the day I moved out, she packed up all my stuff. My desk? empty of books and now filled with hair products. My bunk? Moved right on up that night. She threw away the maps I had left and posted punk rock bands instead. My dresser became a storage space for all the things she didn’t throw away. The yarn I could not take (deep breath) thrown in the basement with the mold.(can you tell that my sister and I are similar as night and day?)
    How did I know this? College is 40 minutes away from home. I’d forgotten a book I needed and had gone home the next day to grab it…needless to say it wasn’t in the desk drawer where I had put it. =P

  50. Wow. You’re amazing to be doing this kid of stuff right before Christmas. I certainly hope that Amazing is the right word to describe it, at least.
    Best of luck, and you deserve yarn when you’re done!

  51. Oh the bittersweetness. My younger moved out then moved back in – with all her new stuff. My older FINALLY moved out last summer, then came back with a bad case of mono that needed TLC – good thing I hadn’t fiberized her room already.

  52. Oh, I’m glad you’ve decided to let the room go! I went to college six and a half years ago, got married and moved cross-country two and a half years ago, am seriously thinking about having kids of my own, and my mom still maintains “Bethany’s Room,” complete with all my old stuffed animals on the bed, my old books (that I told her I didn’t want and tried to sell at a garage sale) on the shelves and the same art on the walls. It is creepy and dusty– like a shrine to 16-year-old me. It’s such a beautiful room, and it kills me that she’s not taking advantage of the opportunity to remake it into her own space! The room has become something of an albatross in our relationship– I feel like she isn’t ready to let me go or to acknowledge the changes I’ve gone through, and as a result, I can’t feel entirely comfortable with her.
    …plus, sleeping on my childhood bed in my childhood bedroom (purple ruffles everywhere!) with my husband makes us both feel vaguely pedophelic, like we’re violating some little girl’s space. Urgh.

  53. That’s what we should be doing too! My eldest graduated from college a year ago, and several months ago her younger brother started sleeping in her old room. We need to repaint and make it look more gender neutral, since it still looks like a girls room. While were at it we should pitch all of her old clothes that she hasn’t warn since hight school. Since she is a grown up working girl, paying her own way I don’t think that she will be back too much. Now she will be home for Thanksgiving next week, and she will kick her brother out of the space for that time!

  54. Ha! My mom had new paint on the walls before I was out of the driveway on my way to college! And she didn’t even need the space. Of course, I could have been a bigger pain in the butt than Amanda, too.
    I love it when you write about motherhood. I have a five year old, a three year old and a newborn. I find your stories so encouraging.

  55. You are such a good mom. My daughter got married in July, and joined her husband in Alaska the second week of August. By the third week, I was refinishing the floors and painting, and now I am a permanent resident in HER room. I am responding from my computer in MY room, my sewing table and new TV are in here. I am awaiting the departure of my other two children. Although they don’t share the same rooms, they aren’t living in luxury. Life is good.

  56. Ya know what? That makes you a great mum! It really does. I’m almost 27 and my mom still holds out the wistful hope that I will move back in, for pete’s sake.

  57. We are more or less at a similar spot this year. My oldest just turned 22, graduated last June and is gainfully employed in Kansas City with his own apartment. He stayed in the dorms all through college so there would be a few weeks here and there when he stayed in his room and so it did stay his room until just a couple months ago. His job is in construction (engineer) so he is going to move around and stay temporarily at each job location until that one is finished when he’ll move on to the next. That didn’t seem permanent enough for me so the room sat empty all summer until we bought some new furniture for the living room. That started a cascade which ended up with Chris’s room being swiped and turned into a fiber room. I suppose it’s good for him to feel like it’s less easy to come back but I do feel a bit like a traitor despite how lovely and tidy the main living area looks without all the sewing and random craft items cluttering it. Hurrah for Meg, kids are better at change aren’t they?

  58. OH – and Pauley is now 22 and I think his room was my “craft” room before he even got all of his stuff out of the house….. definitely not enough rooms in my house!

  59. I’m saving this and giving it to my family to explain why I left my daughter’s things spread all over the dining room for the first 3 months after she went off to college. I’m not really ready to be done with that piece of parenting, even though she’s also 19 like your Amanda. But she might come back…

  60. I moved out of the house when I was 17 to go to college. I thought I was tremendously old and could make it on my own, but I was crushed when my little sister took over my bedroom, even though I never really moved back in. So I’m sure that Amanda, even if she never moves back with you, appreciates your wise mothering choice!

  61. Awesome! Speaking from recent experience w/ moving from my parents house, it is a necessary step… but my mom is still sort of in the “what if she comes back?” phase. It’s been over 7 years since I left… I’m trying to convince her to make it her sewing Mecca, but she hasn’t caved yet. I’ll have to keep wearing her down ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. Interesting topic.
    I’ve got a friend whose eldest is now 22. She had graduated college and is living in an apartment near her old school.
    This friend also has a son who is a freshman in college halfway across the country.
    Both of these kids had their own rooms. Both of those rooms still have their stuff in them. These are the two biggest rooms in the house (after the master bedroom).
    The youngest child is now a freshman in college – he still has the smallest bedroom, which is barely big enough for his twin sized bed, a small, dresser, and a tiny wardrobe. His room has no closet.
    We have wondered for years now *why*? Why not move the middle kid to the biggest bedroom when big sister moved out? Why not move the youngest kid to the biggest bedroom when the middle kid moved out?
    Is it really fair to make the only kid in the house live in the smallest room (save the bathroom, which come to think on it is almost as big as his bedroom)? Who is this anyway, Harry Potter?
    It isn’t like the older two couldn’t have kept bedroom space in the smaller rooms for when they came home to visit (which, btw, middle child has not done AT ALL).

  63. I am so glad that I don’t have any little sisters to take over my room now that I’m at college… I am a spoiled (kinda sorta) only child and I would be super upset if anyone took my room! It will always be home to me, no matter where I go. Although I am getting suspicious that my mom wants to take over my room herself… it is bigger than hers after all (attic bedroom!).

  64. I was weirdly lucky that my parents moved house within about a year of my going off to college – the new house did not have a room for me, and I just had to get used to it. Had there been an emergency which forced me to move back in with them, I’m sure they’d have found the room somewhere (they probably still would!). It was probably much easier on my parents than finding the right moment to reclaim that space, especially since I also come from a big family which always inhabited small houses.
    My grandmother still had bedrooms dedicated to my dad, uncles, and aunt until they were all long since married with children of their own!

  65. I hope I am sufficiently mature to let go of mine when it’s time for him to fly. I needn’t worry yet because he’s only Hank’s age. He’s already made me promise that he can life here “for always”, I think I may regret that later.

  66. You are a great mother. I’m both happy and sad reading this as my kids are in their teens.
    Just think, when another girl moves out you can have your own office/studio/mountain of yarn stash in there!

  67. I remember when my brother moved out (temporarily it turned out). I think my parents waited all of a summer before renovating it and moving a foreign exchange student in.
    I was gone for two years before my mom called me up one day and said “We’ve repainted your old room, the new office looks great!”
    So don’t worry if Amanda wants to come back for a while, we both survived living in a guest room at our parents’, I’m sure she’ll handle it alright too.

  68. The job of a parent is to give children “roots and wings”, and it sounds like you’ve done both. Though they may fly away, deep and intertwined roots will keep them forever in your heart and in your life.
    My oldest just moved to an apartment, and her brother is months away from college. Though their rooms may physically stay the same for a while, their occupancy in my daily routines is slowly eroding. I think the hardest part for me is not being needed to propel their lives forward on a daily basis, but the lively adult conversations and glimpses into their interesting new lives is quickly filling most of the gaps. My ever-hungry dogs, unable to reach the food cabinets and turn the doorknob by themselves, are doing the rest!
    Hang in there–we’re all in this together, and ready to comment whenever you need us.

  69. I remember coming home my first Christmas from college, walking into my own bedroom, and having my obnoxious little sister order me to get out! That was her study room, not my space anymore, get out! (She didn’t even claim it as a bedroom, just as a second room for her use only, and I guess I was supposed to go sleep on the couch.)
    “M O M…!!!!”
    On the other hand, my oldest went off to college, lived with my in-laws during a WashDC internship her first summer, and never really came home again except for quite short visits. At 26 and married four years now, that’s just the way it permanently is.
    I’m glad your younger two will get their own space now. Our kids enjoyed each other’s company a lot more when we added on so they were no longer competing for space inside one bedroom.

  70. As my parents drove me down to Toronto for my first year of university, my sister was in my room, painting over the lovely blue walls with boring white paint, to make it hers. And she wasn’t even sharing a room (though hers was approx. 1/2 the size of mine). Her room became my parents’, their room became my dad’s study, and I got a pull-out bed in my mom’s study from then on, when I came back… including over the next two summers. And we didn’t have (as you can see) nearly the same space crunch as you do. Of course I was sentimental and sad about losing my room, but really, it wasn’t a big deal in the end. Though it’s true I never lived at home permanently again…

  71. When Dale and I were first married we had his 3 kids plus Hannah living in our 4 bedroom colonial. Since then his 3 have moved out on their own and we have gradually reclaimed their rooms but it sure did feel strange – and I’m not even their mother. It’s pretty cool now, though, since we’ve got an official guest room and I’ve got a fiber room.

  72. HA! My kid brother swiped my bedroom the day after I left home. Was he bothered by the peachy walls and pinky carpet? Not as much as he was bothered by sharing a room with another brother.
    My mother has no sentiment at all.. and I think I will be the same when my kids leave home!

  73. We just did the same thing with my son’s room. It really feels weird to think he won’t be living here anymore. He’s and hour and a half away and in his second year of college. I am just hoping he doesn’t want to move to the other side of the country!

  74. Oh, my heart is breaking for you! When my first baby was a few months old, it suddenly hit me that every step he took was a step away from me. I was desolate. He is only 4 now, and has a little sister who inherits all of his stuff, but I still feel a little sad when she is finished with toys or clothes and I have to say goodbye to them. Being a mother is indescribable joy and heartache.

  75. may the spirit of mike holmes be with you! i am SO there, living in an 1880’s house myself. apparently in those dark ages they didn’t need closets! nor did they think it was necessary to be able to stand fully upright in any second story rooms! sigh, and it all seemed so charming when we bought it!

  76. When our last one moved out, we turned one bedroom into a decent-sized bathroom (and the old tiny “master” bathroom into a walk-in closet) making it very difficult for anyone to move back home…unless sleeping in a bathtub was strangely appealing. It’s part of the process. They all now have more bathrooms than their parents.

  77. My parents left my sister’s and my bedrooms as they were, minus the personal artifacts, because they had a B&B. When they gave that up, one bedroom remained a bedroom for guests and the other became their office. I never moved back in with my parents, even when I was broke and jobless, because that would have been admitting that I had failed as an adult. I picked myself up and found another job.
    My daughter’s bedroom would make a lovely fiber room … but she’s only eight, so I’ll just have to bide my time or get a bigger place!

  78. Been there done that! It gets easier with the second child. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We did change anything at first either and both of them did come back for a short time, but they are out now and we now have an art studio for DH and a guest bedroom. Woo!

  79. Whereas my parents sent me on a trip to Europe right after I graduated high school, then moved across the country while I was gone.
    (To be fair, they did tell me where they were going, and made arrangements to get me there, but still…very weird.)
    They’ve moved again since then, and now when I visit them I sleep in the guest room, which is decidedly odd. Odd, but kind of neat, too. It makes me feel grown up.

  80. I know that my mom has dealt with these same things since I’ve moved out. I left more than 2 years ago for school (but come home somewhat often) so it’s been hard for her to let go of that room as something other than mine. Time does march on, and in the end, it’s ok to feel this way… that really means you love em!

  81. Hey, if it turns out half as nice as your bedroom did, it will be beautiful! Congratulations to you and your little fledgling.

  82. I’m just amazed that you didn’t move the yarn right in…
    It must be hard, but Meg knows she can always come back. Just as I know I could always go back (I can feel my mother quaking as I type this!), even though my actual room is armpit-high with lumber, boxes of junk, books and probably, just possibly, yarn.

  83. I feel your pain. I did the same thing when my mother moved in with us. I sat in my adult daughter’s room and cried as I boxed up her childhood and N’Sync posters. She didn’t care but I was just not ready to close, so firmly, that chapter of my life. She moved on, i did not.

  84. Yes, the time has come, and you have to do it. And I should know. My children left the nest 13 and 16 years ago respectively, one emigrated to marry an American and gave us a grandson to visit (left most of his stuff in UK natch), the daughter has married and started breeding in the UK, AND NETHER OF THEM HAVE SORTED OR REMOVED THEIR OLD AND FORGOTTEN BELONGINGS FROM THEIR ROOMS!! And I am too soft (in the head as well as in sentiment) and too lazy, and too busy doing courses, making patchwork quilts, and of course knitting, to say right, that’s it, anything not specified as precious is off to the charity shop/tip/garage,even. It is not that the rooms are completely as they left them you understand. No, son’s room has the computer and 5 bookcases full of mostly crime and detective fiction. The bed sighs under about half of my stash and craft books, and somewhere out of sight there’s an ironing board and some ironing, two baskets at least. Daughter’s room, if anything, is worse as, in addition to her stuff, it has become a dumping ground. First were the boxes of stuff-I-couldn’t-get-rid-of from my parents’ house, then more books, piles of really nice charity shop curtains (drapes) we could use if we move house (some hope!), and of course, in pride of place and partly blocking the doorway to said room, the other half of the stash in plastic boxes stacked almost to the ceiling. But their beds are there, anytime they want to visit! I could go on. Did I mention that we tend to walk sideways in this house? Did I mention that the ‘spare room’ is full of patchwork fabric? Good luck with the renovations.

  85. You are such a good mum. Mine moved her fabric stash into my closet and wardrobe the day after I left. From the outside it still looked like my room, including the Depeche Mode and the Cure posters, but ostensibly it became stash overflow central.

  86. I am surprised Meg did not move in as Amanda was moving out. Don’t worry. Amanda will always know where home is. When I moved out my folks told me that once I was out I was not allowed to move back in. They meant it.
    Want to see pics!! You do beautiful work.

  87. Deep breath and do it.
    Of course, when our oldest moved to college, I turned his room into a guest room within three weeks. Even painted the walls pink. Just to be sure, you know…

  88. Far be it for me to hijack this thread, but I would like to take this opportunity to point out to Jenny (3.34 pm) that were I *able* to access my stuff beneath several years’ worth of dumped strata, it would be possible to effect a crack Seek-And-Dispose mission, thereby giving my mother several extra square yardage of fabric and yarn storage. I have spoken.
    BTW, I very much admire you for not blogging Amanda’s departure months ago, because, well, it was private and possibly subject to flux. I’m tickled that she’s moved in with her grandma, though!

  89. Oldest Daughter went away to school (in Canada) last August. It took the entire day to drive up to UBC, buy books and a cell phone and get her settled in. By the time we returned home her sister (14) had moved everything out of big sisters room, invited her best friend over to help paint, and installed all of her own belongings. I bet we were not even out of the driveway before she began. There is much peace in the house now that she and her younger brother no longer share a bedroom. It’s all good.

  90. My daughter had painted her room dark blue and had a loft built when she was in HS. I knew she was finally gone when she tore the loft down and painted the room white for her little brother (who didn’t get his own room anyway, because we moved both boys into the bigger room and made their room a computer room).
    She really wasn’t gone for GOOD, tho, as she and her baby came up and spent a couple of days so she could get some sleep and someone she trusted would listen for the baby ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. I comforted myself when my first child left that the only thing worse than him not leaving would be him not being able to leave.

  92. When I moved out of my parents’ house, I lived with my sister (who is three years older and had been living on her own for a while) before going to grad school and living entirely on my own. Kudos to Amanda, and congrats to Meg and Sam!
    And perhaps you should mention to Jamie-the-Wonder-Publicist about possibly going to south central PA (near Harrisburg, if she asks)next time you go on tour, because there my mother is able to procure apple dumplings every time she goes to the local farmers’ market (Cold, though. You’ll have to warm it up and provide the butterscotch and ice cream — both readily available there — yourself).
    Or you could see if you could make one yourself. I think I could find a recipe if you want, but really where is the fun in that, because it would keep you away from coming to visit?

  93. Speaking as someone who had to share with her brother for quite a while, this is a great thing to do. It won’t create instant solutions for sibling discord, but it will give them a bit more privacy which might help things along.
    I hated sharing with my brother because I just wanted to have a place where I could close the door and be by myself usually to read.

  94. My non-knitting mother reads your blog. And as a 20-year-old officially-moved-out collegian, I think this might make her cry.

  95. My eldest is away at school, and my youngest has declared ‘squatter’s rights’for the biggest bedroom – it must be evolution!

  96. I’m sure someone pointed this out but just in case — as a consolation for a mom missing the daughters who are growing up and moving out — when they all finally leave? You got two more rooms to store wool . . .

  97. Awwww. It’s right, though.
    I was the first child to vacate a real bedroom at my parents’ house. (My older brother left first, but he had taken up residence in the basement and kept coming back. I left an actual bedroom upstairs and left for good.) I don’t think my younger brothers waited the weekend out before one of them claimed the room. So sweet of your girls to wait all these months.

  98. I can relate….25 years ago, my oldest son left (with 6 weeks notice) to be an exchange student in Australia for a year. We live in central PA and drove him to JFK in NYC. Upon our return, my next son – who shared a bedroom with his younger brother – marched up the stairs, into Mark’s room and claimed it as his own for a year! No time for any thought on my part – I was still reeling from how fast my then 17 year old had gone half way round the world! The 2 younger boys had a year living apart from each other – my daughter already had her own room – and loved it. When Mark returned, his room was his again but he only stayed in it for 4 months and was then off to college and the other boys had their own rooms again. Sad to say, but they all eventually left – part of growing up…

  99. I just called my mom to thank her and remind her I love her. Thank you for reminding me just how much a mother loves her children even when they are grown up and don’t need her every day.
    Congrats to Meg.

  100. Congratulations! Today is my first baby’s 25 birthday. She has a job, an apartment and a boyfriend. But I still can’t let her room go. Of course, I don’t have anyone salivating over it. But I share your reluctance to face reality.

  101. Time marches, like Sherman to the sea.
    Well, maybe not quite like that, but it does feel that way sometimes. Lo these 14 years later, I have not been by our old house. I am loath to see what changes the current legal and rightful owners have wrought upon it.
    Ahem. Moving on.
    Congrats to Megan on her new room!

  102. do it. it’s the right thing.
    we have a small house too, and three daughters last year, two this year. Giving our remaining two their own space has increased the overall peace in the house about…a thousand percent.

  103. I don’t think my older son was hardly out the door to start his freshman year this past September before his younger brother was sleeping in his (now former) room. The room is still quite crowded with DS#1’s things, including a large collection of Warcraft 40K figures, but DS#2 doesn’t seem to care. No one seems to have noticed that the collection of yarn, sewing, books, etc. that has been moved around 3 different times now (every time another sibling was born) still is homeless and living in disarray on the side of our bedroom (but I guess I didn’t really expect anyone would care, besides myself). But the real question is: where is DS#1 going to sleep when he comes home next week for Thanksgiving?

  104. I’m glad you waited – if only for your own grieving process. One of the things that I was sad about when I finally moved out (to go to college and live with my Mom’s parents..sound familiar?) is that my Mom totally didn’t wait. She claimed that room as her craft/sewing room the day after I moved out and then started asking me when I was going to take all my other stuff with me. I’m now almost 40 and probably out of spite more than anything still have some things left behind…you know, just as a reminder that I did grow up in their house…once.

  105. Our oldest moved out…got a job real job and I doubt she’ll be back. She’s still close by but my husband still wants to know why she ran away from home…

  106. What is up with mothers turned grandmothers anyway? My mom fed my boys Cheerios with chocolate ice cream in the bowl for breakfast! I am sure that when we all have our turn at the nurturing grandmother stage we will make better choices. (Just in case the opportunity presents itself I am stockpiling treat ideas and baby socks!)

  107. My parents kept my room mine for years, hoping I’d come back. Eventually I helped Mom make it into her craft room, but it took a while. Good luck to all of you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  108. Just wait. It won’t be long before they return with various spouses, pets, and children. It won’t matter how big your house is – it isn’t big enough! Thank goodness, mine only return for visits and we live in bedlam for a few days and then they leave taking spouses, pets, and kids with them – THANK GOODNESS!!

  109. My middle daughter moved out a year ago. The sister she shared a room with was so happy. There was great rejoicing. I waited to see if the moving out would take. It did. She moved in with friends and they are happy and doing well living an hour away. I miss her every day but I’m happy for her. She was not happy living at home. She had had her nose pushed against the front door from the time she could stand. It was time.

  110. I can’t it sat empty that long! If an empty room suddenly appeared in our house, there would be a fighting frenzy. I think the little one would win….she took karate for a few years.

  111. Funny how the whole room change thing gets into family dynamics. I am the oldest and when I went away to college, my mom left my room as it was for a few years. My brother was the one who got my room and while I was a little sad to see “my room” change, I got over it. Had my sister taken the room, I would have been more upset. Even as a child, she was the one who wanted to be better than everyone and lord it over everyone else. I would have been very upset had she called to tell me how she had painted over all the “ugly” colors in my room so that the room was actually livable.
    Funny what sorts of things four walls can bring up…

  112. Dear Harlot,
    Somehow I missed the scarf craze of last year. But I’m now caught up thanks to you. I just received my order of 12 skeins of Silk Garden.

  113. There were 7 of us in a 3 bedroom house when I was growing up. I never felt there was enough room. Your post has made me see things from my parents’ perspective. Bless. (If I was Megan, I would have moved in ages ago…)

  114. Thank you for sharing this mothering and family moment, I will carry it with me for when the time comes…

  115. Someone’s had her big girl pills and we’re so proud! Can’t say I know what it’s like to see the chicks leave the nest but I do know that, although I adore my mother and she’s my best friend, I never moved back. Maybe that’s because my mother went off to graduate school in Hawaii as soon as I graduated high school. Hummm…

  116. FWIW, your feed on Bloglines is unstuck now. I like to think that my email yesterday finally prompted them to unstick it at last ๐Ÿ™‚

  117. We have 6 children in a 3 bedroom house.My twin girls were at college. My 19 yr old moved out in a huff, and in less than 5 hour the twin boys were packing up her cloths and took over her bed and put everthing on the back porch. While everyone was so motivated to clean,and I had willing manpower.I had the boys move us into their old room.It was much bigger than our tiny room. We now use our old room as a computer room.She came back a few weeks later,to no room! She learned a valuable lesson.

  118. I’ve been your eldest – I went to the dorm my freshman year of college even though it was in the same town and only came back for a 2 month stint 4 years later in between apartments.
    I wasn’t keen on my room being made “not my room” either;)
    And while it’s hard to watch your girls grow and move out… you can always look forward to two more rooms of yarn storage!!

  119. I think you are doing absolutely the right thing. My sister and I shared a room FOR MANY YEARS. I still remember the day that I came home from the junior ski program and my family surprised me with one of the BEST birthday presents I ever got– my own room.
    Now, as an adult, I really honestly believe that it is one of the main reasons my sister and I are good friends now– we needed the separation then. And, I have a major appreciation for my mom– she gave up her sewing room so that I could have my own room (and she is a pretty well-respected quilter– it was a BIG sacrifice that I appreciate more and more as I get older).

  120. Ummm I swear- next year when my college biy leaves me– I will remember this- and it will help..
    For now? TISSUE PLEASE.
    HUGS Harlot! Carry on. And- well done, mom. Well done.

  121. Stephanie, my son moved out in February (he was 19 at the time) and moved in with his girlfriend (YIKES!). However, since that time, he has gotten himself an excellent job at IKEA, has never once asked for money, invited his younger brother over for a long weekend (and offered me gas money for driving him over) and now they’re planning on moving into a much nicer apartment December 1. Did I resist this back in February? You betcha. Has he grown up and matured? Absolutely. Do we love his girlfriend? Wouldn’t trade her for diamonds. Unfortunately, HIS old room still has way too much of his musician stuff in it (I know you know what I mean what with Joe living at your house). Eventually it will go away. So will the empty nest syndrome (I hope). Carry on. And post pictures of the before and after. Please?

  122. Now I feel guilty. Most of my stuff is still in my old bedroom at my parent’s house, pretty much the way I left it, 10-odd years after I moved out for good. Neither me nor my parents has ever really had the time to deal with any of it, so there it sits.
    I was an only child, though, so at least there are two more spare bedrooms besides mine (only one of which is actually in use.)

  123. I feel you on the process and the work of home renovation stuff. Take time to sniff the wool fumes. It helps. Seriously.

  124. It is good and proper to grieve over a chick that has left the nest. Thank goodness she’s at her grandmother’s house where you can still gain access.
    Truth is, I’ve been telling my son (and only child-age 15.7): ‘When you finish school I’ll get to keep my money in my pocket and I’ll be RICH!’ and ‘When you move out I’ll have the whole place to MYSELF and it’ll be clean’. Truth is – I don’t think I’ll ever be rich, and I’ll never need this much room, clean or not. Not even for yarn.
    So go ahead a grieve, then let me know what you did to get over it because I’ll be there soon enough.

  125. “about putting yourself out of business and creating functioning humans who do leave you if you do it right” – a very eloquent way of describing motherhood. (I recently moved out and I know my mother feels the same way as you.)

  126. I remember your last renovation and the whole Ikea assemble-it-yourself catastrophe. If you’re thinking of putting anything together, I’ll send my hubby right over. He’s pretty good at that stuff. We’ve kept our daughters’ beds in their rooms for when they come home overnight, although daughter #1’s room is now my husband’s office, and daughter #2’s room is a guest room (and the bed is a really handy place to spread out knitting projects.) I just have to put projects away when she’s there overnight. Oh yes, and I’ve learned to keep the door shut, as our large and hairy Labrador has discovered how soft the bed is–and he’ll even lie on knitting, needles and all. He doesn’t seem to care about the possibility of impalement.

  127. Until my oldest son was 17, he shared a room with his 3 younger brothers. We eventually built an extension and the 2 older boys got them own rooms. Two years later son #2 moved out followed shortly after by son #1 and we finally had a bedroom for our much younger daughter who has always shared with us. Son #2 moved back for a few months after school but has been gone now for almost 2 years. Now son #3 is away at college and we have a spare bedroom. He’ll be back in december but we don’t know about next summer. We are almost ready to move to a smaller place except that my elderly parents are almost at a transition point too and that leaves our plans up in the air of course.

  128. Wow. Meg has some real restraint. When I left for college freshman year, my sister was moving her stuff in there AS THE CAR PULLED OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY! You should celebrate the fact that your kids respect your wishes that much by buying Meg yarn and Sam whatever Sam likes. Such is my suggestion! =^)

  129. will you write to my mother? because i’ve been trying to get her to use my room as her office for YEARS. (i’m 25, haven’t lived at home since 17). she will not budge.
    granted, none of my stuff is there, and it’s just become a storage room for random, unused stuff – so i think i totally win this argument.
    ps, if i was sharing a room with my sister and there was an empty room in the house? i would have taken it as she was walking out the door. so kudos to your daughters for holding out!

  130. I wish I had enough guts to usurp my oldest’s room. He finishes college next May and I don’t know if he’ll move back home for a short time or not. But once he has his own place…..that room is MINE! I’m thinking of moving #2 son (who goes to college next fall) down there and taking over his room upstairs to make a mastersuite for hubby and me. Selfish? Heck Yeah!

  131. ok I thought the story was going to end with it being turned into the yarn room.
    When I moved out, my mom couldn’t go in my room at all for a couple of months. She just shut the door. Then she would go in and cry. So sad. We’ve both moved past that stage – but I have to say, the fact that it was a difficult adjustment for my Mom made me feel especially loved!

  132. When I read the quote at the top – I was completely fooled into thinking that this was going to be about the Christmas Knitting.
    …But perhaps it isn’t yet time to panic about that.

  133. I have four kids and three bedrooms (so yes, that means my husband and I sleep in the living room) and I know I will feel exactly the same way when my oldest is ready to move out.

  134. Oh, how exciting! I hope we get pictures of the before, during, and after. It’s always a shock to be ousted from one’s childhood room, and most likely a shock to do so, but time only moves on, and so must we. Besides, Amanda will always have her mommy!

  135. When I left for college this fall my younger sister got the room we shared, and besides painting it, she still has not changed anything. While it makes me sad that she has not made the room her own, I’m also happy that I have not been demoted to “guest” in a house that I still consider my home.

  136. My young one (of 3) left home this year…you tugged a heartstring of mine today :^)
    Well written Steph – you’ve got a way or two with words. Good thing, seeing your an author, eh?

  137. A totally inappropriate non sequitor considering the sweet/sad topic of this post.
    But I’ve been dying to know. A while back you polled us about a lace scarf you were making from a pink variegated handspun– about which contrast color to use with it for the border. And then we never heard anything about it again. Have you worked on it at all? I was dying to see how the beautiful yarn knit up!

  138. Oh how we want these daughters of ours to come home! My 19 year old did so last year, only because she broke her leg, required surgery and lots of nurturing. At this point I am overjoyed that she is way far away in Spain! Not because I want her gone, but because she is healthy and happy. Having to let go all over again has been very hard. As for her room, she doesn’t care what becomes of it as long as there is someplace in the house for her to rest her head when she does come to visit.

  139. Um…If you have someone refinish the floors, you might want to pick a different company than last time! Unless you like sawdust fires…just saying…

  140. Oh gosh… how can it be that you describe exactly the process I went through and felt when the first of my children officially moved out? The room sitting empty… the other children circling it like sharks and making comments… my total resistance to cleaning it out and changing it. I now look at friends and colleagues when they complain (legitimately) about the trials and tiredness of having small children and I think… enjoy this while it lasts! It will be gone so soon…

  141. We live in a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs. We sleep in one, and one has been turned into my stashroom. My 2 girls left 5 and 2 1/2 years ago. It took me 3 years to turn oldest daughter’s room into a guest room and it was like an archeological dig with all the “stuff” I had to go through. I still have not started on youngest daughter’s room because it is just as bad. I know it is time, but I just don’t have the energy. She has told me that I should just have a bonfire on the front lawn, because if she has lived without the “stuff” for these 2 1/2 years she has no need for it, but it is so hard to part with the memories. If your girls want to do that instead of you…..let them. It will save you a lot of pain.

  142. I want to say something meaningful and profound about the passage of time and growing up and all that, but I’m stuck on the whole raccoon whorehouse-crackden thing…

  143. You’re way ahead of my folks. I was just getting ready to go home for summer break my first summer of college, and about 1/2 an hour before my phone in the dorm was turned off my Dad called and said, “Oh… we may have forgotten to tell you. We moved.”
    My room, gone. My stuff, gone. The house I had been expecting to drive back to that day already had other people living in it. All my toys and books and birthday and Christmas presents from the 1st 18 years of my life are in a landfill somewhere. They had packed up a couple of boxes of school papers of mine and stuck it in storage, but it actually never occurred to them that I’d have wanted anything out of my room.
    And we’re all still speaking, so I’m sure as long as you don’t move out without telling her, and then dump all her stuff in the trash, I’m sure she’ll adjust.

  144. … you know, that story is a lot funnier when I’m telling it out loud. Looks kind of harsh written down. Guess you had to be there.

  145. Wow, and to think my mother started moving my younger brother’s thing into [my] bigger room the night before I moved out for college.
    Allow the girls to pick out the paint color(s)…they deserve it after showing so much patience. :0)

  146. After I moved home, it took me a year to realize that I could move into my sister’s room, which was much larger than mine.
    How much free labor can you get from the girls to “pay off” everything you’ve done for them?

  147. My two daughters (now in their 30s, each married, each the mother of 2, each a homeowner) shared a bedroom in our 2 bedroom house all their lives. That bedroom still has a closet full of their stuff — records (vinyl!), cheerleading outfits, stuffed animals, mementos of old boyfriends, wedding dresses. I can’t get them to move it. I plead, I beg, I threaten. It’s not like we have a lot of extra room. At the very least, I need space for my stash. Be well, Amanda. Move forward. Move your stuff. Your mother (and your sisters) will thank you for it. Do you think you can telephone my girls and give them some hints??

  148. I don’t think my mother felt that way about me moving out. When I left for college, she had me push all of my stuff into a few drawers and boxes and kept my presence in the room to a minimum so she could maybe rent it out. She ended up renting out my brother’s room next to mine and letting him live in mine. He’s taken over the closet and it’s permanently his.
    My goal is to be the only of her three children to not move back home after I graduate.

  149. I felt much the same. I have a small house too and when my daughter who also is in her second year, left for college, we had to make some decisions about what to do about her room. She hasn’t “moved out”, but she does live away from here for the better part of the year. And although I didn’t want her to feel as if I was pushing her out, I also didn’t feel it fair to her brothers and younger sister in a house where there isn’t much spare room, to let the largest bedroom of the house merely being used as a holding place for her stuff. So we reshuffled the sleeping arrangements and she is now in the smallest room and her brother has the big bedroom, ( By himself now because, my oldest boy moved out, way out as in the other side of the world – out ) and the youngest finally got her own room.
    I recently read in a book a quote from Robert Frost, (I believe) that stated
    ” Home is the place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
    Should Amanda ever need to come home again, you’ll make room, it won’t be the room she left, but there’s will always be room.

  150. OMG….You’re optimistic! They do come back (well certainly our boys did – one even took over our bedroom (along with his wife) after he broke his leg and ours was the only bed he fit ( he’s 6’4″)!). Also had our eldest daughter-in-law move in with our grandchild a few years back, as our son thought he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan. That didn’t happen but by them DIL was teaching and I was expected (had to) babysit!!! We now have 3 more teens (through adoption) who say they will never move out – although they regularly take off (overnight and longer!). Maybe we are just suckers.
    I’m just reading Casts-Off and it is giving me great comfort. My hubby is away this week and my 2 youngest teens are taking the opportunity to go AWOL! Fortunately they have not stayed out over night. On top off this the street graders keep leaving a mountain of snow over my driveway (I’ve threatened the City that I shall contact CBC National if things don’t improve) which I can’t shovel due to bad back, so I was marooned in my house for a while and thoroughly stressed out and miserable. When not reading Casts-off I’ve been knitting the Dream in Colour Tulip Cardi amongst other stuff and have done minimal housework. Think the 13 year old will take off again tomorrow (because she thinks I favour the 15 year old son who was AWOL today), and Yoga isn’t till Friday. More knitting and reading to keep me sane tomorrow.
    Thanks for keeping my spirits up.
    Jante MF

  151. If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t lived at my parents’ house for almost ten years, and my younger brother has owned his own house for almost two years by now. My parents just this past year finally started renovating our bedrooms and turning the house back into the 2-person home it was built to be. And my mom still feels guilty about it (she’s turned one of the rooms into a guest room…just in case, you know!)

  152. I can’t remember which comedian I heard it from first, maybe Bill Cosby, who said “Parenthood is the only job in the world you where your goal is to work yourself out of a job.” Sounds like you heard that one too LOL! It’s so hard sometimes though. Each kid is different, progresses at a different rate, and none of them comes with an instruction manual. Yes there are books and all but again, they’re all so different that you really do have to play it by ear. My son is just a little older than Amanda, and going to college too. It’s tough. I have to say though, that Amanda living with your Mom is brilliant. I was fortunate enough to live with my Grandma for several years and it was just wonderful. I was about Amanda’s age when I moved it and I got to know a whole different side of my granny compared to the other grandkids. She and I just had a great time together. She was one of my all time favorite people and I learned a lot from her, and believe it or not, she learned a lot from me too. We had a ball! Amanda moving in with your mom is the perfect half way house for the both of you. She feels like she’s on her own, with non-parental backup if she needs it, and you don’t have anywhere near the worries that you would have if she just moved into her own apartment. That’s not to say you won’t worry. I don’t know about you but in spite of my best intentions, I can’t help myself when it comes to worrying about my son sometimes, and for the record I’m not a worrier! Try to have fun as you remodel. Wow, their own bedrooms! That’s too cool! The joke in my house is that when my son moves out, my loom is going to move in and I’m painting! My husband loves to torment my son and tell him that I’m going to paint the walls in his room pink! The thought of pink walls in his room drives my son crazy! Happy remodeling!

  153. Be thankful. My Dad turned my old bedroom into a workshop. A proper workshop, with motorbikes in it. Now, when I go and visit (I live 300 miles away now) I get a mattress on the floor in the back room. ๐Ÿ™‚ and bless him, my Dad said I could move back whenever I wanted…

  154. I love the irony of moving out to Grand’s.
    Re Cream Soda Floats: you think where kids are being raised, they are the only ones learning a few things? My oldest continually complains about what the youngest (10 yrs apart) was allowed to do that he was not!
    One of my daughters has come home from school and her Boston apt, to find her father making an office of the room. She wasn’t too concerned until last time, when a fax machine appeared…
    The first one to leave is hard, it will get easier, the empty nest is awesome!

  155. It’s really hard having a daughter leave, but after a year or so they become wonderful adults that are a real joy to be around. And, they come home to visit with grandchildren, who are not born knowing how to knit.

  156. this is going to be long, but…we lived in a two bedroom small apartment in a great part of Brooklyn, me and my older brother shared a room till he moved out when he was 27. (here in NYC you really don’t move out until you can afford it) i was 17 and we were ready to kill each other, so he decided it was time. my mother was livid when he came home and told her he signed a lease, and was moving out, i was ecstatic. i felt for her, she was mad at everyone, for my dad slapping my bros back, saying that was a manly move, at me for being happy, telling me i was kicking him out. even after he moved out, it took her weeks to remember that he wasn’t late, he just wasn’t coming home at all. time helped her, what also helped was helping me find a wardrobe, paint and floor tiles to match. but till this day, 11 years later, she still wont step foot in his apartment…

  157. Meg & Sam deserve medals. When my older sister went out of town to school, even though we knew she was coming home every weekend, my sister immediately got her room. The room didn’t get redone, but we didn’t care since we both got our space. Good luck with the transition.

  158. We live in an older home, too. I also had 3 girls and the 2 younger girls shared a room. After college my oldest moved to Houston, TX (we live outside Pittsburgh, PA). It took us a while before we could let our middle girl move into the vacated room. Now, however, both rooms are vacated unless my grandsons sleep over. Times change and a nest that once was full is now an empty nest.

  159. and here when you mentioned ‘your old nemisis’ I thought you were going squirrel hunting!
    A new beginning – hurray for everyone! An old and ancient blessing: ‘May your contractor arrive everyday on time, the project complete ahead of schedule, and under budget.’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  160. I moved out (to an apartment a mile away), then I moved back in when I was in grad school. Then I moved 1000 miles away. I have been 1000 miles away for a year (although plotting to return somewhere with a decent Winter for next year). And after reading this post, I feel the need to call my parents to check that my “safety net” is still there. Just In Case. Because You Never Know.
    I did move 95% of my stuff out, and my parents put a guest bed in, but it is still my room.
    Your post gave me perspective on what my parents might have gone through when I left (being the Oldest).

  161. When my daughter moved out, one of her brothers was on that room in a flash – he had the walls painted and his things moved in before the floor had a chance to cool from having her things moved off of it! But then, boys don’t really get the sentiment thing as well as girls do.

  162. To Meg and Sam, your tiny Victorian will now seem HUGE!!! (Have you ever heard the story about the rabbi’s advice for making a house bigger?)
    Ah, yes. I remember well the joy of HAVING MY OWN ROOM AND NOT HAVING TO SHARE WITH MY SISTER. And I’m 52 now and that was about 40 years ago!

  163. S…. That reminds me that May has taken the whole basement (yes with bathroom and office) for her loft (as my mother call it) and her bedroom on the second floor is being unused – ie..: this was supposed to become our studio – 4 yrs ago !!!
    I think it’s now time !!

  164. Wow, you’re such a nice mom. I hadn’t even moved out of the house when my room was being painted for the next person (seriously, she was putting down drop clothes while I was loading the car), and it was a known fact that I would be moving back in one year! (I was an exchange student in high school) When I came back, I slept on the living room sofa for months while they built me a small room in the corner of the basement. The day I left for college, my brother moved into my basement bedroom, and I was told that I’d be sleeping on the sofa when I came home on breaks!
    You are so so so so sooooooo sweet to allow your daughter a little bit of adjustment time before you gave her room away.

  165. Well, at least your girls waited until she was gone and had moved most of her stuff out. My brother was already moving his stuff into my room BEFORE I was even moved out! (And it was only the two of us and it’s a three-bedroom house, so it was only an upgrade to a slightly larger room for him).

  166. I remember when I first moved out of my parents house. I was 18 and went off to college, living in the dorms. I had to return every three weeks or they would have a cry spell that challenged infants.
    Now I’m 25. I come home every 4-6 months and when I do come home, the last couple of days are like, ‘When the crap are you leaving?’
    We grow. You grow. It takes time (about 5 years for my parents) but there is a wonderful moment coming when Amanda won’t be just your daughter — she’ll be a woman whom will become your friend. My mother is my best girlfriend and I love her to pieces. This coming from the same girl who screamed, “STOP HOLDING ME BACK!” once a week or so.
    Good luck to you, Harlot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  167. they can’t have it! it’s perfect for your stash!!!!
    Seriously though, what’s the secret? my dh’s almost 21 year old refuses to get off his duff and move out already…
    Also, I just finished your “the secret life of a knitter”…
    Yarn hiding places that WORK:
    1. in the buffet behind the rolls of christmas wrapping paper
    2. Slip under your bed (even just your arm) and make a slice in the fabric covering the underside of the box spring, put the yarn in there in plastic bags, then go and slide some under-the-bed storage totes underneath your bed, double the storage space!
    3. My dh had the genius idea of buying me some of those plastic carts with the clear drawers…. I filled 9 drawers and then hid the rest…. he thinks that’s all the yarn i have (he hasn’t checked under my fabric, or in the dressers in our room which I removed the knobs on so he CAN’T get in them!)
    4. under the couch
    5. Bring in an accomplice…. my 8 year old son loves yarn but doesn’t knit or crochet… he goes and hides yarn too… usually what he’s gone and swiped from MY stash… but I know his hiding places LOL

  168. Huh. When I finished high school and went to spend the summer with my grandparents, my parents dismantled my bed and converted my bedroom into storage. I came back home a month before starting college and had to sleep on the couch until I could move into the dorms.
    This, of course, was after my mother insisted that I only apply to in-state colleges, because she didn’t want me going too far away (I’m the eldest). Then in my first year, they moved about 1500km away.

  169. Oh, the joys of Motherhood – they keep at you for many, many years and it’s quite a journey with many side paths along the way and some heartache as well, even though we all know that getting them grown up and out is the goal. It’s just that it opens up thoughts of our own place in life’s journey and where we are in the great scheme of things and one less plate at the table until there’s just two again. You’re in my thoughts – but I know your other daughters will enjoy their own rooms and that’s what needs to be focused on – Have fun doing this with them. Hugs to you, Jean

  170. This is off topic from today’s innovation theme but applies to those of us who, along with YH, find pleasure and patience knitting while waiting.
    There is an article on (url below) today about MIT professor, Richard Larson, director of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals who has studied the psychology of queuing for more than two decades. “Eliminating empty time, for example, makes waits seem shorter, Larson found in his research.”
    And another source quoted in the same article:
    “Queuing psych 101: Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time.” David H. Maister, “The Psychology of Waiting Lines”

  171. you spend your life building them wings, and then one darned day they fly away… it’s like waking up in an alternate universe somehow… where you get a hint of what your life is going to be like. that something fundamental is changing.
    i got an 11th hour save by having a late baby, then blending a family. but oh man.. i so have been exactly where you are. room and all. phew.

  172. I’ve been finally helping my parents half-convert my brother’s room in their house. And he’s lived in San Francisco working for Google for over a year. It’s a hard transition. Very. We’re about to have our first non-full-family Thanksgiving *ever* and I’m 27 years old. It’s going to be… hard, no matter how we tell ourselves it’s part of growing up.

  173. My sister moved into my room the DAY I moved out of home. I was the first to move out of home in my family, and I still remember my Dad bursting into tears as he pulled out of the driveway of my new house.

  174. Maybe it’s different with boys, or Someone thought I was going to require extra motivation to nudge the children out of the nest, because my 19 year old son has turned into a slob of epic proportions (walk-in closet piled knee deep with clothes of indeterminate cleanliness, stains from multiple unidentified beverages dribbled in random patterns across the beige carpeting, halo of multi-colored spills around the nightstand and wastebasket, various bags, boxes, cans and bottles of food that could qualify as a mold-growing science project throughout the room…) He’s going to a local university and living at home; at this point I can’t wait until he has enough money to move out. I might wait until his car gets to the end of the driveway before donning a toxic waste decontamination suit…

  175. When my oldest moved out it took a year or so for me to do it, but his room became *my* room. The first room I’d had to myself in forever. Wall o’ yarn and everything.

  176. ย ย ย ย  Aww.ย  You and your girls and husband will be just fine, though.ย  Everything passes in time.ย  ย ย ย ย  I just started your basic sock recipe from “Knitting Rules!”.ย  Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!ย  You saved my sanity and some very nice sock yarn from going in the garbage!

  177. I had a father-in-law once who would burn the bed of the child moving out by way of serving notice to the whole family that the child no longer lived there. I am not married into that family anymore.

  178. Been there, done that, too, Stephanie–part of being lucky enough to have kids who grow up to be everything we hoped for. We now have our 32-year-old son back living with us during the week (job in our town, just far enough away to be a difficult commute), but the tables have also been turned–my new job is closer to _his_ house, so I stay with his wife during the week!
    A knitting correlary to your Patton quote: A plain or simple knitting project, done on time and while it still fits, is better than a complex, stunning project finished too late.
    Best of luck

  179. Stephanie, this reminds me of a painful story, and I hope you don’t mind if I share it with you and your readers. While I was across the country taking my son to college for the first time, my partner went through his room from top to bottom and transformed it into a room for her son (my stepson), who had been sharing a room with my daughter for years. She boxed all Nathan’s possessions, rearranged the furniture, left barely a trace that he’d ever lived in that room. When I arrived home to find my son’s life in our home wiped from existence, I was devastated — I cried for days. I knew we needed the room and expected it to be changed, over time, but I also thought I’d have the process of going through Nathan’s things to help me deal with my sense of loss at his departure. Over four years later, I am still angry at the insensitivity that her actions demonstrated. I am glad that you were able to take the time you needed to come to your own terms with Amanda’s departure, and to leave in place a room that told her she still had a home to come home to.

  180. I made a similar move–from my parent’s home to my grandmother’s home, during my third year of college. (I transferred from a Junior College to a state college over 100 miles away.)
    I left at the end of August.
    When I came back over Halloween, my sister had moved me out, painted the walls, and taken over the room. I slept on the couch.
    It bothered me then–but I understood. The house was too small for a room to not be used to it’s fullest potential. And now it’s too large for both my folks–but they don’t want to move out.
    These things hurt–they always hurt. Maybe they should, or we wouldn’t appreciate things like daisies on our walls or Kung Fu Panda posters in the first place.

  181. What a powerful writer you are. You have me laughing and tearing up all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your life with so many people who, like me (i’m sure) read their own feelings in your stories.

  182. It is so cool to read the comments from the other side, from “young people”!
    My son is a freshman at college…4 years of him coming home for the holidays and summer break. I need to leave his room the same, but DH and DD and I take turns sneaking in there for various reasons.:)

  183. This happens in reverse too. My 40 year old daughter is terminally ill. She and her 6 year old son have moved in with me, because they both need the physical and emotional support. So we have been adapting my small retirement home back into a family home. This daughter will leave home again, but this leaving will be the worst one of all, because she will never come back. It is hard being a mom.

  184. ((hugs)) I can’t even imagine letting one of my babies go right now…I have to hold back tears when I realize that my oldest is thriving in kindergarten (i.e. without me!).
    throw yourself into making the room over for meg…your oldest can always camp out on the couch when she comes to visit — that’s what I had to do! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  185. My parents moved to a smaller house the month I went to college. I slept on the futon when I came home that Christmas, and yeah, it kind of hurt.

  186. I know what its like when the kids move out. I left the sons room alone for mos, but it gets easier. Eldest Daughter moved out in May, We renovated her room and in Aug moved her sister in there as it was larger. The now empty room, is being used for stash!!

  187. I must say, the comments on this particular post are really touching and illuminating. Everyone has important stories about leaving home, or having their children leave or come back home. Thanks for inspiring such interesting commentary.

  188. Ah, yes…when my oldest left for college last year, we turned it into an art studio for my partner. Except that, we would do a quick change and turn it back into his room when he was due home for breaks! Until one time when he surprised us! It was okay by then, though, because he was on his way to his own place by then!

  189. Brought back memories of when I finally got my own room. I was 17. I packed up the remants of my sister’s existence while she was on her honeymoon and moved in before she got back…

  190. Laurel (about 9 comments up). My thoughts are with you in & your daughter & your grandson in this difficult time. I cried when I read your story.I wish you all a sense of peace despite the circumstances as you spend these precious days together.

  191. I think my sister waited about 20 seconds after I left for college to claim my room. It’s a good thing she had left by the time I came back 2 years later after transferring to a local school.

  192. Goodness. Good Luck.
    I went to visit a friend over the summer while in high school. When I came home, my dad had moved. Seriously. I had to call up a friend to spend the night, and then track him down over the next few days. At least I still had furniture. not stuff I’d liked. or chosen. or could paint…I had to choose a dorm in college based on if it was open over the holidays, since there wasn’t really a home to go home to, nor a ticket to get there. That meant a more expensive private dorm, put on a student loan bill.
    I sort of wonder what it’s like being my kids. They take having two parents and one address as normal. They have holidays with their own relatives, their own grandparents, and everyone is on good behavior. I am hoping and praying they have a regular college life, and that we can buy tickets for them to fly home each Christmas and Thanksgiving and summer.
    It’s really nice to know that it’s important, and there is heart in the choice. It’s sort of my life’s work – my most important work, really- to make their life solid and anchored and sheltered with love. I am glad you have good, loving kids.

  193. I lived in the dorms my first two years of college. When I was home for the summer before my third year, we all kind of knew it was going to be the last summer like that; I was moving into campus apartments, which didn’t close over holidays, I was going to get a job there, etc etc, blah blah blah. So I’m sitting in my bedroom reading a book and one of my sisters, then like 12 or so, came in and cuddled on the bed with me. “Are you really going to move out?” she asked me, her eyes filling with tears. (I swear I am not even embellishing this). I assured her that I would still be home to visit. She was breaking my heart.
    Mere hours later she and my other sister (twins, they’d shared a room since we moved into that house when they were months old) knock on my door. They come in and begin eyeing the furniture, the walls, the layout, and talking between themselves about how they were going to rearrange it when I was gone. The heartbreak, it fluttered out the ill-placed windows.
    The room has since been repainted and filled with new furniture and sister #1 has taken it over. It is the weirdest thing to come home and go into her bedroom. My parents didn’t really seem to care much about this move; we’re a pretty nonchalant family most of the time, and I knew it couldn’t be my room forever, but still…very strange.
    Bonus, though, whenever I go home I get to kick one of them out of their room to sleep on an air mattress in the others’. I honestly don’t mind sleeping on the couch but I admit it’s nice to sleep in sister #2’s room (she got all my old furniture, so it’s all comfy and familiar).
    Erm, didn’t mean to write you an essay here. I think it’s so sweet that you care about this transition that much…I just moved a thousand miles away for grad school and it still felt pretty low-key with the familial unit. Sigh.

  194. The heartbreak of being a mother… they start growing away from us from the day they’re born. I have two kids, a son, 19 and a daughter, 16. Even though I know my son will be the first to go, it will be my daughter who will be the hardest. At one time we were best friends, now she rolls her eyes at about everything I say. Sometimes I just want to crawl into bed with her like I did when she was little.
    Two years ago I started dating my (now live-in) boyfriend. He took me on the first real vacation I’d ever had, to the Carribbean. I was beside myself about leaving Amy (she was 14) as I’d never spent any time away from them. I got homesick about two days into the vacation and just wanted to go home (I never told my boyfriend). Amy wrote me a letter every day I was gone about how she was faring, and I read them when I got back. I’ll keep those letters forever. Fast-forward to now… BF is taking me on a cruise in December and all Amy can think about is that she’ll have the car all to herself for a week. So different!

  195. My kids are 25 and 22, so we’ve been through the move out with both of them. It is an adjustment on both sides when that happens. My daughter has had the hardest time with “her” room becoming my office because she doesn’t like change.
    I can remember the strange feeling of coming back home from college and the house being redecorated. I guess I thought my parents lived in a vacuum when I wasn’t there.
    The hardest part for me was not the rooms so much as the change in our relationship. I had to learn to relate to my children as adults (which has been a joy)and we all had to redefine what family meant when we no longer lived in the same house.
    Good luck with the renovating. It is odd at first, to walk by that changed room. Then the mind starts thinking, “Hmmm – when they all move out that room would make a great _________.”

  196. You have insulation in your house? That’s not fair, ’cause there’s none in the 1st floor in the 200+ year-old house I live in. There’s frost on the wall in the winter, the heat could be on (but who would notice?) and it’s only 55. Dressing in 3-4 layers is commonplace and the little dog I have keeps a puppy sweatshirt on until it’s time for bed and the electric blanket is CRANKED to 6.
    Thank goodness I know how to knit, which keeps me warm! If only the wool would act as better insulation . . . ๐Ÿ™‚

  197. Living with Gran (Re: Dyepot Girl at Nov.20, 3:56 am (!!! – Where are your writing from?)) – Stephanie, I was lucky enough to live with Gran my last two years of high school – long story, shortened – In June of “that year” Dad sold the house he had lived in since 1935, we moved to BC from Edmonton, we 3 kids and Mum picked fruit and veg., Dad didn’t want to have to move to a “bigger rat-race” than he had left. Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, he looked around the table, and said Who wants to move back to Alberta? and 5 pairs of hands, including his, went up – we were back near Edmonton by the Tuesday of the next week. The folks found jobs, and a 2bedroom apt., so parents and 2 brothers moved in, and I got to stay with Gran in a much smaller town for those two years – the best part was: Gran is not Mum, and Gran expects you to make some decisions for yourself. And even better than that: I got the stories about when Mum and the aunts were young; of course we always respected Gran, but I learned about her own early years, and Dyepot Girl had it right – we were good friends. Not only that? I didn’t fight with my Mother when I was 15, like nearly every other teenager I ever knew had done! And moving all back together when the folks’ house on the acreage was completed just meant getting to hear more stories about the two years apart. I hope Amanda has as much fun with her Gran as I did with mine – it is a wonderful relationship when it works, and I can’t see it not working with your family!!! All the best from Jenni in Edmonton – where it didn’t quite snow as much as it did in Ontario … sorry.

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