When I stay at my parents, I stay in my childhood room. The stairs still creak when you climb them. My bathroom is still freezing in the winter. My closet still holds more “I’ll save for a rainy day” items than it should. But my mother has updated my room- painted the walls, laid new carpet and added more appropriate furniture for an adult. She even has a crib in the room for my babies to sleep. She has taken down some my adolescent treasures …. filtered through and rearranged my trinkets all over my room. She tried to conceal my sad attempt at decorating during my younger years and give my room a more mature feel. All while remembering who was raised in those walls, and the memories that did it.
My mom was super chill when it came to my decorating style growing up. I had the innovative idea to have my friends sign my walls when they would stay the night. So my mom bought me white paint to create the blank canvas, and never said a word as my walls quickly became covered with motivational quotes, inside jokes and silly drawings. I had signatures from friends who became enemies, girlfriends who became bridesmaids, cousins, sisters and even boyfriends. I had one ex- boyfriend who signed my ceiling ( so I had to look at it every night … long after he had moved on to a collegiate cheerleader). And another mvp in my romantic resume who signed my bathroom door… in the shape of a heart.. before we left for college.
( I really didn’t think the boyfriend thing through- like duh Molly, do you really want to read and reread love notes from boys past? Apparently 17 year old Molly did 🤷🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️) And my mom never asked me to repaint my room. She just allowed it. She welcomed this side of Molly with open arms and kept it alive even while I had moved on to other zip codes.
I visited my parents by myself a few months ago. It was the first time I had slept in my room with both my babies. Having my son in my childhood room was an interesting feeling; an answered prayer in the same room I would pray for him. Knowing that young Molly never knew she could love a boy quite like the way she loves Parker. But as I rocked my baby girl in my childhood bedroom, I was stunned by what happened next. As I held her, I became really emotional. It was like I had stepped into a time machine and all those memories of elementary and high school were front and center in my mind except this time my daughter was experiencing them, not me. The reality of how quickly this precious time is leaving me, and every day my children are getting older.
When you have a son, you pray you raise him to be kind and respectful. You hope that life gives him lessons that you have prepared him to handle. But as a woman, I do not understand what it’s like growing up male so I’m walking into his experience blind. However when it comes to my daughter, I have an idea what’s headed her way. Her life will not be identical to mine ( and parts of me hope that’s because she makes decisions differently than I did) but because of my experience, I know where I want her to be better. And I know how quickly time runs away, and adulthood finds us.
Thirteen years ago I was a high school graduate preparing for college. Wide eyed and naive and completely convinced I could change the world. Ten years ago I was celebrating my 21st birthday. Wearing my stupidity around my neck with a literal sign of terrible decisions when it was still “cute” to be a mess. Nine years ago I was walking into my first professional role completely unprepared for the weight of lessons that come your first few years of working in sales. Cue thick skin and an addiction to caffeine.
And with each passing year, the carelessness of adolescence was growing further out of my reach as I welcomed another jewel of adulthood around my neck. Heartbreak that rocked my world and changed my course, disappointments that I didn’t foresee, accomplishments I never thought were annotated for me, and so many milestones in between- all of this thrown together to make up my life and who I’ve become because of it.
The girl who use to daydream in that bedroom is no longer. She has moved out and moved on. When a younger Molly would let her mind dance around as to what her life would look like at 31, I’m pretty sure mine wasn’t it. But the beauty of life is we cannot predict where our path will lead us, all we can do is enjoy the ride while we are on it and welcome every escaping moment with open arms. The good. The bad. And the worst.
And now looking back, I think my mom never rushed to change my childhood room because she knew all those scribbles were my careless years (with all the lessons, heartbreak and love) put into physical form. I mean, the silliness of having friends take permanent markers and physically write on my wall- like it was a yearbook – that silliness that made teenage and young adult years fun and transformational – they wouldn’t and didn’t last. She knew there would come a time I would want neutral gray walls. She wanted to hold onto that silliness as long as she could. She knew I would grow up. And I did.
Just like I know my children will too. Just like I know they will walk into their childhood bedroom at some point in their lives and realize how quickly it all went. They will flip through old photos, and touch worn out books and remember.
Quarantine has been challenging to say the least. It has been scary, paralyzing and quite frankly anxiety inducing but it has also given me a renewed appreciation for slowness. There are moments that I cannot wait to wish away- my kids are driving me to the end, my job is pushing me to my breaking point and I cannot listen to one more newscast- but damn isn’t it beautiful to drink in all of those escaping moments for a little longer than usual? This moment will not happen again. Quarantine has taken a lot away from us but it has bestowed upon us such a valuable, rare gem of a commodity……
T I M E.