My Daughter’s Empty Bedroom Nearly Broke My Heart

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: My Daughter’s Empty Bedroom Nearly Broke My Heart

There was a time this bedroom was a total disaster…

Clothes ankle-deep, strewn all over the floor. Cups, plates, empty water bottles, and candy wrappers piled on the nightstand. Socks and pajamas hanging out of the drawers, and stacks of papers messily scattered all over the desk. 

The bed was rarely made, the pillows were piled in a corner and makeup, perfume, hair clips and nail polish were cluttered on the dresser.

The room was a complete mess, but it was my oldest daughter’s mess and, much to my surprise, I miss it desperately.

I miss every smelly sock that was thrown just a few feet from the hamper, every dirty plate left behind after a night of studying, every sticky spot on the dresser, every stain on the carpet from God knows what and every ding in the wall that she never fessed up to.

My daughter is in college and I miss her terribly. She’s deep in throes of pushing through a few summer classes, working part-time and trying to complete an internship that’s required for her major.

As proud as I am of her and as much as I know she’s exactly where she’s meant to be, I wasn’t prepared for the deafening silence in my house. I wasn’t prepared for how much my heart would ache for her. I wasn’t prepared for the profound sense of loss. I wasn’t prepared that my daughter’s empty bedroom would nearly break my heart.

Sometimes, I go into her bedroom, sit on the edge of her bed, close my eyes and remember…

I remember the chaotic sound of her scrambling to get ready for school in the morning when she was running late. The sound of her blow dryer with blaring music in the background. The sound of the shower running for 30 minutes and me wondering if she was ever going to come out. The sound of her humming to herself when she listened to music or laughing aloud when she watched a silly YouTube video. The sound of her chatting with her friends on the phone and the sound of occasional tears when life got the best of her.

When you’re in the midst of the chaos – driving your kids to the end of the earth, cooking dinner while helping them with their math homework (trying to convince yourself that you can’t possibly be that stupid), and arguing with them to please clean their bedroom, you think you have all the time in the world with your kids.

At least that’s what I thought…

It all goes by so fast and yet, somehow, when you’re in the midst of raising your kids you think you have more time. 

More time to listen to them laugh and share silly stories about their day. More time to cook their favorite dinner when they’ve had a bad day. More time to sit in their bed at night and watch silly TikTok videos together. More time to run errands in the car and grab those precious few minutes when they let their guard down and open up about their worries, fears, hopes and dreams.

More time to sit on the bleachers and cheer them on. More time to welcome their friends into your home and have them eat a week’s worth of groceries in two hours. More time to trip over the pile of shoes by the back door or deal with backpacks tossed on the counter or the crumbs on the floor or the sound of them making a midnight snack because they can’t sleep and they suddenly realized they’re starving.

More time to take it all in and notice and cherish and take a picture with your heart so you remember and never ever forget.

But you don’t…

When your children become teenagers, time isn’t necessarily on your side. 

Time slips by ever so quietly. Every day, without us even knowing or realizing, our kids are taking one step closer to the door, one step closer to college, one step closer to the day when they won’t need us as much anymore, one step closer to living a life of their own.

And, there’s no telling where this life of theirs will take them… 

Across town? Across state lines? Across the country? Sure, our children will always be in our lives and we’ll always have the beauty of visiting and being part of their lives… but make no mistake about it, it’s not the same. 

So, grab those moments while your kids are in your tender care under your roof, mamas. Take note of the little things – even the frustrating things that raise your blood pressure, the things that drive you nuts, and the annoying little habits you desperately wish your kids would outgrow.  

Take it all in… every bit of it.

Soon enough that bedroom of theirs will be clean. The laundry basket will be empty. The pile of crumbs on the kitchen floor won’t be there to be swept. The pile of shoes that you trip over every day will be gone. The car will stay in the garage a lot longer. Your grocery cart won’t be as full and the house will be quiet… far too quiet.

I know your kid’s bedroom is a mess. I know it bothers you. I know you shut the door when you walk by because you can’t bear to look at it. 

But, take it from a mom who knows… please don’t look at it that way. In fact, take a picture of the disastrous mess with your heart, because one day, when you least expect it, you’re going to miss it.

A spotless bedroom is so much more difficult to look at than a messy bedroom because it’s their mess and that’s what makes it a wonderful, glorious, beautiful mess.

Yes… it’s messy, but it’s the best mess in the world.

If you enjoyed reading, “My Daughter’s Empty Bedroom Nearly Broke My Heart,” you might also like reading:

I’m Spoiling My Teen While I Still Can

To My Precious Daughter Leaving for College: This is a New Chapter for Us Both

Things I’ll Miss When My Daughter Leaves for College

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