It is nearly 6 years after my daughter moved out and I am tackling the stuff. Games, toys, socks, underwear, journals, everything!
It’s coming up on graduation time and lots of newly minted high school and college graduates will be leaving their parents’ homes. As a parent, whose children moved out some years ago, let me give the newly minted adults some advice: take your stuff. Take all of it. Even if you don’t want it.
Take it when you go. Or throw it away. Throw it away and bag it in black garbage bags so your parents can’t see you don’t want the teddy bear they gave you on your second birthday. Don’t leave it behind as a constant reminder of the child that is gone. Take your journals and your school projects. Don’t leave the journals and short stories for your parents to read and cry about that they didn’t know your secret pain. And maybe it was a short story and not even pain at all, but they don’t know. Don’t leave spare underwear, socks, and running clothes in case you visit.
Don’t make them have to sort through it to figure out what might still be meaningful to you or not. And why not. And what does it say about them and how they raised you. Don’t give them things to cry in angst over.
Leave: Pictures of your smiling face. Happy things so they can think of you as the adult you now are as well as the child they loved.
Take: Your house key. Come back and visit. Take their phone number. Call them. Tell them you love them. Not as a child loves a parent, but as an adult loves the parent who has seen them on this journey called life and who loves and respects them.
Take your stuff. Don’t leave your parents to drown in it.