My Son's Messy Bedroom Completely Wrecks Me

When I was pregnant with my first child, I remember sitting in the assembled nursery, my huge belly resting on my lap as I rocked in our newly purchased glider, and marveled at how the room had changed. Just months before it had been a perfectly unremarkable guest room, and now look at it! Softly lit, filled with unfamiliar furniture, dreamily unfocused stars projected on the ceiling from the crib mobile.

I was thinking of that strange, anticipatory feeling the other day when I was in my oldest son's room gathering laundry. How his room has a life of its own now, his personality shining through in every minute piece of clutter. Once upon a time, that yet-unused nursery overwhelmed me with its quiet promise of how our lives were going to change ... and now my 8-year-old's messy room still crushes my heart, with its freeze-frame capture of a little boy's journey to growing up.

More from The Stir5 Things I Don't Understand About My Son's Messy Bedroom

Eight, in my experience, is a nearly indescribable combination of little and big. In the right light, I see a lanky teen-in-the-making. Sometimes he's all pointy limbs and giant grownup teeth and eye-rolls. And yet sometimes he has all the soft edges and liquid eyes of the baby I used to hold.

I see this juxtaposition in his bedroom. Both sides of him, the big kid, the little boy. Just look:

Big kid: The monster/robot-movie posters hanging on his walls.

Little kid: The years-old framed photo of him with his little brother.

Big kid: The collection of action figures and a clay pigeon he once shot with his dad.

Little kid: The carefully-displayed card I doodled for him one day several months ago.

Big kid: This homemade radio that actually receives broadcasts from NPR.

Little kid: The animals stored IN the radio.

Big kid: The camouflage hat he keeps on his bedpost, perhaps in case of a midnight hunting opportunity.

Little kid: The tucked-in stuffed tiger and rabbit.

Big kid: The chapter books that show his interests: outdoors, survival, dragons.

Little kid: This, stored in a drawer but never forgotten.

Big kid: Whatever ... this ... is.

Little kid: I asked what he was keeping in this small container. It's the stray pieces of fabric that have come off his beloved blanket, his "blue blankie" he's slept with every night since the day he was born.

Does your kid's room look at all like this? An oddball collection of things that show how they've grown -- and yet how young they are still?

Images via Linda Sharps



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TJand... TJandKarasMom

This is an adorable article that you (as the author) will cherish and love to look back on. I want to go photograph my kids' rooms now lol.

balan... balancing-act

As the mom of a fellow 8 year old son my eyes are teary reading this. I can relate to every word.

Morri... MorriganzMommy

My 7 year old daughters room is a mix of Disney Princesses and Monster High. You got pretty pink pastels and bright pink and black.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

Ugh! The blankey strands. I'm shedding epic Mom tears :(

Shana Lewis

The blankie pics got this preggo in tears! 

Rachel Gorham

I remember this stage in my boy's life so clearly. Stuffed elephants everywhere alongside meticulously assembled and painted aircraft models and books about blacksmithing. Now all the little-boy stuff has been packed away for years, because he's 18 now, and reading this just made me cry a little bit. (My 14yo daughter still has a lot of her little-girl stuff in her room: her extensive puppet collection; every book she's ever owned from picture books to *Divergent* and the Hunger Games trilogy; her baby dolls still live in the "bunks" (shelves with baby-doll names painted on them) that her brother and grandfather made for her when she was about five, but her dresser is covered with nail polish bottles, hair doodads, and makeup containers. I think I'll go sit in there for a while and breathe, after reading this.)

Emily Carter Kallas

This really hit home. My boy will be 8 at the end of August, and his room is a lot like your son's (with dirty cups and plates thrown in for variety). I love how you said that sometimes you look at him and see the teenager he'll be in the future. I do that all the time, and it catches me off guard. He's more independent and wants to do things for himself, but he still asks me to snuggle with him on the sofa while he watches cartoons, or he'll hold my hand when he's sick (which is STRICTLY off limits in public. He doesn't want anyone to think he's a "baby"). They're walking contradictions at this age, and it's equally awesome and heartbreaking. 

nonmember avatar Emmie

Oh lord.. I wasn't planning to cry today. I have a 7 year-old and we are in this RIGHT now. He is independent, yet wants to snuggle, holds my hand, only to jerk it away in the school parking lot... the list goes on. I showed up at school last week and he handed me a note. It said, "thank you. I love you mommy." It took all I could to keep the tears from flowing because surely he would have been embarrassed. I am SO happy to see him becoming an independent young man, but I sure will miss these younger years.

nonmember avatar misery chick

Hey, I'm in my 50's, don't have any kids, and my eyes got teary!!!!

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