I didn’t want it to happen, but it was inevitable.
I have That Room — the kind that you don’t show to company.
When my younger son moved to an apartment, I was excited about a fresh start in That Room.
We were ripping up carpet within six hours. That’s no exaggeration.
My son took all his furniture and belongings, except for some old toys and clothes that he left in the closet.
I must admit, he was never a neat kid to begin with, and getting everything cleaned and painted felt good.
My husband and I have discussed whether to make the room an office or a guest bedroom.
We don’t have many guests, and we still have an extra bedroom with our older son’s room and his furniture.
At first, I just opened the door to my younger son’s former bedroom and breathed in the clean. New carpet. New paint. An empty space.
No video games. No piles of clothes on the floor. No unmade bed.
Pretty soon, though, it became the place to put stuff.
A sofa table that I don’t want to get rid of but don’t really have room for is against the wall in That Room.
So are the wooden chairs we got from my father-in-law.
They are rickety, but we have memories of years of game-playing in them. So they sit in That Room.
Oh, well, one of the chairs holds a computer monitor we don’t use anymore.
A coffee table that I plan to sell or use — someday — is in there. On top of it sits hand-me-down bedding that I plan to use — if I turn the room into a guest bedroom.
I searched our house high and low for a tablecloth I wanted to use at Christmas, and my husband finally found it — in That Room.
When I came across the perfect party supplies for a co-worker’s upcoming birthday in March, I bought them and put them in That Room.
My husband is right that no matter how much room I had, I would fill it up.
When I went to visit my parents the last time, Mom had something for me to take home. It was a white wicker rocking chair, a wedding present from my husband 26 years ago.
So, it went in That Room, too.
When I was in college, my parents bought the house they live in now, and it had four bedrooms, although one was tiny.
We called it The Little Room. There was a couch and my dad’s stereo, so he would take naps there, Charlie Rich and Neil Diamond albums spinning over and over.
It was a cozy place. Now, it’s been repainted, the couch is gone, and they use it as an office. Mom has shelves with books, pictures and trinkets from travels.
We keep the door closed to That Room in our house.
My older son and his longtime girlfriend were over the other night, and they talked about someday … they might buy a house, and they like our neighborhood.
A light bulb came on in my head. That Room would make a perfect nursery for grandchildren … someday.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or firstname.lastname@example.org.