I came home a few days ago, and when I say home, I mean that I took a plane, a sweater-stuffed suitcase, and a very exhausted Emily all the way back to Canada. Upon arriving back at my parents' house, I knew that things around the house would be different because every time that I return for a visit, they are. My mom is constantly coming up with new ideas around the home, which typically I don't mind so much.
But this time, my mom rearranged my bedroom.
I'm a stupidly sentimental person, so you can imagine the resentment and shock that overcame me. As I unpacked my suitcase, my mom, aware of my disapproval of her changes, asked what changes I didn't like. For that moment, I was no longer the mature, grown adult I've been trying so hard to become. I was a little girl again, using a pair of socks from the suitcase to wipe away a single tear when Mom wasn't looking.
Why should this matter so much? I use this bedroom maybe twice a year. I leave it behind, expecting it to remain just as I left it. All it is to me is a memory of what it always was and what it should always be.
It's the bedroom I more or less grew up in. It's the bedroom that I've kept all my secrets in. The colour and general atmosphere of the room is romantic. The bed is the comfiest place I have ever slept. The knick knacks lining the shelves and the memorabilia hung on the walls makes no sense but brings me small comfort. I leave behind unwanted things, but always know where to find them when I want to see them again.
It's also my memory of home. It's my attachment to my family and to my childhood and how things used to be. It makes me sad for this bedroom to be any different from how I remember it, because that would be like saying goodbye to a big part of who I once was. Perhaps, childhood is something we cling onto, desperately, as we grow older, but the older we get, the more it fades away.
The period of one's life that is their childhood is sacred. A time of juvenile innocence where daily problems were minuscule in contrast to those of the adult world. We look back to it as, without sounding too much of a cliché, a "simpler time". As grown-ups, we feel the burdens of an education, a job, a partner, a family, taxes, so we can't help but look to the past when it all seemed so easy.
The childhood bedroom is an emblem for this sort of nostalgia. The bedroom is an environment that consumes a lot of our time. From a child's perspective, it can be a safe haven. Where you go to have a good cry. It's where you go for timeout. It's the place to play with toys and make a big mess and then have to spend time cleaning up because it's what your parents tell you to do. It's where you spend the beginning and the end of each day. It's where you create all of your dreams.
When people consider their own bedrooms from their youth, it's often the sort of thinking that puts a smile on their face. We think back to the happy memories and of the small, obscure details that are so personally special to us.
So when I tell my mom that I miss my mirror and my antique oil lamp and maybe a few dirty teddy bears, it's not because they are things I actually like to incorporate to my interior decor. It's because they're memories that I don't want to forget, but instead, stay there forever.
But now's the time that I need to tell myself to grow a pair. I'm not a little girl anymore and I can't be one ever again. But that's life.
On a lighter note, it's nice to think that these memories were integral in shaping who we've become. And with the fondness of thinking back, it's an encouragement to help us move forward.