The word ‘aftermath’ evokes a feeling that someone or something came and then went leaving a noticeable condition behind. Surely a hurricane or an earthquake could yield a perspective on the word aftermath. How about a child? Today was a sad day for me, as I had to deal with the aftermath of a child living in his room for about 20 years—but now vacated.
Of course the boy—now man, took all his prized possessions, including the hidden magazines, leaving only the ‘incidentals’ behind. It was those very things that caused me to ponder and pout about. Autographed pictures of NHRA drivers and their race cars, a Chicago Bulls blanket used as a wall covering and other Bulls paraphernalia, along with trophies from a variety of sports including baseball, Taekwondo and soccer. Is it not the father’s job to pick the decorations for a son in his early years? A son should be surrounded by manly things, right? How about a shotgun on the wall? What does a young eye conjure up when looking at fast cars, logos promoting sporting allegiance and weapons? What
was this father thinking? These items were all left behind—probably a good thing. In this small space of about 13’ X 7’—which could qualify as jail with a locked door—I have contained a child with decorations of my choosing. Sorry son, it won’t happen again until you do it for (to) your child.
Thick dust clung to every plastic gold figure representing a sport trophy. How did this source of parental pride become so incidental? Is this a reward for something earned or coerced? Perhaps it was a token award for ‘just showing up’. We parents pretend that it is something much larger, but the child knows exactly what it is and who the trophy truly is for. Don’t feel bad, the idea is a noble one. Greatness should come to all our children—for the parent’s sake.
All the holes are filled in and the walls are primed and painted. The color chosen was not for a child as this room was transformed into a ‘guest room’. Fresh paint, a new look but very empty. I still take a peek at the room, and in my mind’s eye I see him laying there. I know he was thankful for this space created just for him. Now I have to console myself for what I did or did not do…
Written for my son Rob Jr. on August 27, 2010