First Door on the Right

The basic contents of the room haven’t changed much.

A twin-sized bed, a small nightstand next to it, a dresser,ย a desk with a lamp.

Fourteen years ago, it was deemed The Big Boy Room and we moved his little-boy things in with great fanfare.

When you are three years old and enamored with the garbage man, the height of awesomeness is to have a room at the front of the house. That way, you are the very first one in the family to hear the garbage man coming around the corner so very early in the morning.

And you get to announce it to the whole house.


The Big Boy Room had brightly-colored cars and trucks driving around the room on the wallpaper border, Legos on the floor at all times, a huge stuffed dinosaur guarding the bed, and a jigsaw puzzle always occupied the desktop. A dream catcher hung from the bedpost, ready to spirit away bad dreams that hound even the biggest of boys.

He’s ready to catch his own dreams now.

This room down the hall is still occupied by the same boy, who seems to have doubled in size in the time he’s lived there.

The wallpaper is long gone, the Legos have been tucked away in bins and stored in the game room, and I haven’t seen the desktop in years.

Even the garbage man is no longer a source of excitement, but rather someone to grumble at when he comes too early in the morning and disrupts the groggy sleep of a teenager.

There are piles of socks that don’t quite make it to the hamper, posters of bands I can barely stand to listen to, and movie ticket stubs taped to the mirror next to prom pictures and photos of a hero.

Still Big Boy stuff, I suppose.

But the boy that occupies this room? He’s not in there all the time anymore.

He has his driver’s license, his friends, things to do and places to be.

He’s moving on, that Big Boy.

Come September, he’s moving to another Big Boy room in the dorms, with other Big Boys (and girls). He’ll have a mini-fridge, empty pizza boxes, crazy posters, a lava lamp, and a pile of socks that won’t quite make it to the laundry bag.

If he’s unlucky enough to be near the dumpsters, he may even be able to grumble at the garbage man.

And even though the room down the hall will be unoccupied soon, I have a feeling I’ll still find a reason here and there to open the door.

Who knows what memory I’ll see when I peek inside.

They’re all in there still; some buried deeper than others.

Or maybe just buried in socks.


I am honored to be a featured blogger over at Mamapedia today! I would love for you to stop over there for a moment and read my post Mother of the Year: Before Kids, about what an awesome mom I thought I was. Until I tried it.


  1. You will make me cry with anticipation, dear one.

    Because my baby will be there in only two years.

    Of course, I might convince him to go to the JC for a couple years.

    Although truth be told, I won’t miss the socks.

    • I will not miss the socks.

      He thinks it’s a challenge to see how many he can pile in the corner before steam comes out my ears and my head spins around.

      At least I’m providing amusement for him.

  2. Yep, I have tears streaming down my face. What a beautiful post. I will send you a virtual glass of wine come September. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. “Heโ€™s ready to catch his own dreams now.”

    You know, of course, that this is the line that got me.

    You had to know.

    Because really…How lovely and awesome and wistful is that realization?

    I’m not ready to let mine catch their own dreams yet.

    But soon. Yes, soon.

  4. I had tears in my eyes reading this as well…my baby boy will be there in two years.

    Beautiful and eloquent and heartwrenching.

  5. Chelsea says:

    My baby boy is still very much a baby – just six weeks old – and this got me weepy with anticipation.

  6. It’s impossible to read this beautiful piece without thinking of my own baby boy growing up far too quickly.

    You have such an amazing ability to make me cry while renewing my hope that I will be okay when we reach those milestones. You inspire me so much, my beautiful friend.

    I am so lucky to know you.

    I will be less than 30 minutes from him, so he’s welcome to come by with those pizza boxes, but certainly not the socks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Having just made it through kindergarten graduation, this had me in tears (the fact that I am all hormonal—that made the gush even worse).

  8. So lovely. Since my girls are still so young and haven’t moved into the “big girl room” stage, your lines about him moving onto his college dorm are the ones that moved me the most and brought back some memories. He’s headed for a wonderful adventure.

  9. Sherri… I Love the way you write! ..this one made me so sad… but i loved it ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Oh Sherri this is so great! I’m years from ever having to experience this, and I already feel like, “Okay, maybe we don’t need to be parents.” Those moments rip my heart out and I don’t have a garbage truck watcher yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Sent my Kid1 to college last year. You’ll survive, but your heart won’t be the same. It’s great to watch them grow up, but sad to see them do so. Hugs to you.

  12. So beautiful Sherri!!! My kids are insane about the garbage trucks!

    This makes me feel like my babies are growing up far too quickly…

    …and again, maybe I should add a 3rd?

    I see a recurring pattern here. Maybe I need to stop reading your blog.

  13. I am so not ready for this. At all. Can I just squeeze my eyes shut really tight & pretend it isn’t going to happen in 4 years?

  14. Oh dear. I may have to stop reading your posts until he’s gone. The empty nest syndrome is till 7 years away at least but still, I’m dreading it already.

  15. Ugh…there were times I couldn’t wait for them to get a little older and now I would love to turn back the clock just a bit. To the cute voice, innocent questions, adoring eyes….

  16. What a beautiful post.
    All the years of teaching him, loving him, providing him with structure and parenting to see him go off to school.
    What he’s supposed to do.
    And it kinda sucks.

  17. Sniff. There you go. Making me cry on a Monday morning.

    We always joke about this in our house. Only 16 more years until freedom! The house will be quiet! The rooms will be empty! And then you go and help put it all into perspective.

    Lovely post, Sherri. Just beautiful.

  18. Oh, this post made me so emotional Sherri! We’re getting ready to move the Chalupa into his Big Boy Room this summer. Can’t even think about the other Big Boy Room of the future (although lava lamp made me laugh).

    And also? I might steal the big stuffed dinosaur idea. Love it.

  19. I’m crying…

    Because right now? My son’s room is filled with Legos and cars and trucks and socks. And he runs out the front door to wave at the garbage man.

    And I know it goes too fast.

  20. All of my sons socks couldn’t fill a desk drawer, let alone a corner of a room and yet I still have big fat tears, Sherri, rolling straight down my face and onto the head of my little boy.

    There is still a chance someone will invent a time machine in the next 17 years, right? Or maybe just a time freezer. Pretty please!

  21. Oh my gosh, NO ONE thinks their kids are going to grow up, do they?

    They think they’ll be adorable 4 yr old boys forever.

    Here I am, with a 16 yr old and a 14 yr old…who I used to carry both at a time, since they were 18 mos apart.

    Oh my gosh.

  22. I sniffled a bit here. And I want to go hug my little boy and hold him, his warmth and all his little boyness, and hold tight. Because I know it will all go by too quickly.

    Sigh, you are such a beautiful writer. Your big boy will always be your little boy. Don’t you worry.

  23. Do you remember how amazing college was. WOW – so excited for him. And you. However, I still have 10 years before I have to face that reality.

    Hugs to you.

  24. This transition sounds rough! My mom told met that when I went off to college, my little brother would sneak into my room and cry for me!! Mom and Dad were always teary eyed when I’d go back to college after a vacation but it seems like it got easier for them after a while! Hang in there!

  25. I’m just now at the point of planning my second (and last) big girl room. We’ve been busy searching for beds, and already had a bedding set purchased.

    I cannot and do not want to wrap my head around sending a big girl off the college!!

  26. I just got teary reading this, about how the rooms change, the boy grows but he doesn’t change that much, he’s always your little boy in a big boy world.


  27. Okay Miss Sherri…you just knock it off! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was having a pretty good “not going to think about the college thing today” day and now I am in tears. Yesterday I was bawling because I was making the last official batch o’ trail mix for the high school lunch. My kids think I am nuts!

  28. The only thing that keeps me going (and not melted in a big puddle of tears) is knowing that he is going to the BEST school! I so loved my time at UCD. I know he’s going to be a lot further than down the hall, but at least he won’t be all that far ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Sherri I am all choked up because today, my baby turns 2, and that is old enough for me. I can’t imagine sleeping in late and grumbling at garbage men and a room filled with anything but toys.
    Beautiful as always.

  30. Well that punched me in the gut.

  31. my chest tightened through this entire post.

    I am with Nichole. I cry and get a renewed assurance every time I read about your mother-son relationship and perspective.

    the use of Big Boy is what strikes my chord…since we are working on the Big Boy room.

    there is that chest tightening again.

  32. Finally an opportunity to do some reading today! I loved this post, Sherri.
    *blink blink* Ah yes, the memories… I just wish I would have recorded more of mine back in the day. I love that you and so many younger moms are doing this. Because they do ‘move on’. Much too quickly!@
    hugs, Shanon


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