“When the last child leaves”


“When the last child leaves”

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2010

In 2005, Cory our son, graduated high school, then he moved out to attended college. In 2007, he moved back home. It’s now 2010. Why is he still here?

Our two older daughters pretty much left right away; one left home at 20 to find her way, the other one left for college when she was 18.

They never returned.

Today, Cory received exciting news. He has a new job in the trucking business. After the phone call, his was ecstatic. His anticipation grew just knowing he would now be able to move out with his buddies.

My reaction was that I was happy for him, and now I will finally have my extra room to re-decorate.

The task for Cory was the cleaning and sorting of his cave, which had been on hold for the past three years.

He started to unearth his bedroom early one morning. As the layers of crusty, old memorabilia started to come to the surface, his personal stories of school days unfolded before him.

He came downstairs with an armful of stuff. “What do I keep? And, what do I toss?”

I looked at him with a glazed look. I responded, “You’ll have to decide.”

A few days later, Cory went on Craig’s List to do furniture shopping. He did find a large dresser with a couple of scratches. He didn’t mind, it was just what he needed for his new bachelor pad.

Then, he started the really deep cleaning which looked like a scary abyss. As he went deeper into the mess, he sorted, and finally he was at the tossing stage. The piles included: faded pictures, used books, high school awards, and past gifts from old girlfriends.

Cory, again, asked the toss/throw question.

This time I knew the answer.

“Oh…you don’t want to throw those pictures and your awards. You’ll want to save those for when you have a “little one.” I’m sure he wasn’t even thinking about starting a family. He had a full plate, and being a father was not at the top of his list right now.

A few hours later, I heard cardboard boxes being moved on our old wooden floors. The whole time I was wondering to myself, “What is he packing now?”

Later on, he had bagged most of his bedroom trash. The problem was, “How to dispose of all of his junk?”

A short phone call to one of his buddies and the problem was solved. A fire pit party was the answer. This seemed to me like an appropriate send off for those lost loved memories.

After the pit dumping, Cory came back with a huge smile on his face.

“Oh, Mom…just so you know, I got a butt load of stuff done today!

“What load? There’s still tons of stuff in your room. I can’t see the floor, and the bed is still full.”

“Mom…basically all I have left is my clothes.” I could see he was full of pride at his accomplishment for the day.

“You should get some Totes.”

“Those clear plastic ones crack!”

“Will you be keeping them outside this winter?”

“No, Mom…I’ll just get some new blue ones.”

“But, how will you be able to see what’s inside?”

“Mom…that’s what duct tape is for!”

Published: Minnesota Moments Magazine, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, and the National Barn Alliance.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog: https://joanie19.wordpress.com, http://twitter.com/joaniebuettgen, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


7 responses »

  1. Two of my three STILL live at home. I like having my tall son around to change light bulbs though *grin*

    Cute piece – hope you don’t get too lonesome when he’s gone.

  2. LOL and giggles too.

    It took me back to when my son left home. The girls left quietly and neatly. Son had a big party and left a cave of junk for me to sort. Aaaargh!!

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