Letting Go of Your Children...

It's a while off yet, but last week I experienced a taster of what life will one day be like when my children are no longer children, and I didn't like it



Deciding to take a few extra days off in September to do some re-decorating and general 'house stuff' once the kids went back to school, I set to work clearing out my 14 year old's bedroom ready for sanding down and painting.

Hoarding... aka nostalgia

To my own detriment, his room has long harboured all manner of ancient artefacts that I've been unable to prize from his grasp, so I knew I had quite a task ahead. Being autistic, my son has a tendency to latch onto all things nostalgic, and keeping old toys is a big part of that. He is incredibly sentimental about things and being that his short term memory can be quite poor, having familiar old things around him (including myself he tells me) actually helps with this and to process and understand feelings that he may have experienced at a certain time.

What I wasn't prepared for was how seeing some of these old things would make me feel!

Toys of yesteryear

As I sifted through old cuddly toys, bundles of immature drawings, random bits of Hot Wheels track, Pokemon cards and millions of bits of old lego, I found myself experiencing a whole range of emotions: one minute I was smiling, the next snivelling, amazed at the rapidity of the memories as they popped, one after the other, into my head. I could see myself sitting on the same bedroom carpet as I was now, playing imaginary Toy Story games with Buzz and Woody, me doing the voices, my son creating the story; even Shrek was a character in one particular, well repeated, game.

Things I'd completely forgotten about were now projected straight into my memory. Like watching my favourite film, I sat and enjoyed the show, remembering the sound of my little boys' voice as he chattered away about anything and everything - and boy did he like to talk! An old dusty light saber reminded me of when he would repeatedly ask what my weapon of choice would be should we find ourselves crash-landed on an alien planet, or which super-power I would possess in the event of an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse.

Bedtime stories

Once I'd sorted through the toys, harder still was going through his stash of old books. This, again, was entirely due to my own stupid nostalgia and the irresistible urge to read paragraphs from my favourites; books that I had read to him at bedtime, books that we had sat and read together, and books from my own childhood that I entrusted into his guardianship and which he now also loved.

Oh yeah... the decoration

By the time I got around to doing any preparation for decorating, I had whiled away the best part of three hours and I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable three hours I've had in quite some time.

Just to have the space to sit quietly and reflect was extremely therapeutic. However, it did make me realise how fast my kids are growing up, and how much I'll miss them being small. Still, as they love to be reminded, they'll always be my babies, whether they like it or not. The attic is now bulging a little more with stuff I was supposed to clear out. I can always sneak up there for an hour of therapy.

Next on the list is to de-Barbie-fy my daughter's room. God help me!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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