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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: The Wall
By Susan martin


She had finished talking and walked up to me and bent over to give me a hug and kiss and was on her way to meet her friends for dinner to celebrate getting her first apartment. I continued to sit in the same spot for a while longer after she had walked out the front door, trying to make sense of what I had just heard.

When did my little girl grow up? I know it was just a few days ago that I was cradling her in my arms, teaching her to walk, spell her name and walked her to her classroom on her first day of school. It was just yesterday that I aimlessly paced back and forth while the pouring rain slammed the pavement to finally hear her come through the doors jumping and yelling that she passed her driver’s test. It was only moments ago that I watched her walk across the football field to receive her high school diploma - or had time passed me up when I wasn’t looking?

I slowly got out of my chair and walked into her bedroom and looked around, and then the first tear slowly made its way down my cheek and that is when I fell to my knees and asked God what now? I don’t know exactly how long I remained on my knees praying for answers, but I know something prompted me to get up and soak in what was around me in that room.

As I looked around I saw something that I never really noticed before. Her life! The things, people and places that she cherished the most were on the walls that surrounded me, and yes even on the ceiling; it was all over her room.

Her favorite animals are frogs and they were everywhere, stuffed, drawn, glass, any type or color. The memorial section of one of her walls was the pictures of her two grandfathers that both passed away the same year, along with her written tributes to them. Another section of wall was the “friends hall of fame”, which are her closest friends; most of the pictures where everyone’s senior pictures. There was also a nice section reserved for pictures of her entire family.

Another part of her wall she proudly displayed her collection of masks; her favorite was the Phantom of the Opera. Also neatly arranged were all her awards and certificates of achievements; I had put up some extra shelving for her trophies, so her certificates were arranged surrounding the shelves.

As I was getting ready to leave her room I took a final look around to get a good snapshot to keep in the archives of my mind and I was amazed at how full her walls were and how organized and meticulously arranged everything was. It was then that I realized that she wasn’t moving out because of anything I had said or done, or because she was tired or unhappy with living at home; she needed more wall space. She needed to grow. There was no more room on her walls for any more pictures, awards, activities or hobbies; she needed more room to do what she did best – be herself.

Moving day came and I did the honorable thing and fought back the tears. I helped load the truck, bought the pizza and pop for everyone that helped her move to her new apartment and even bought her some housewarming gifts and groceries. This time I bent over and gave her a kiss and a hug as I walked out the door of her new apartment. When I got home I found myself back in the now empty room – but was it really empty?

I’ve since cleaned up my daughter’s old room but still haven’t quite decided what I am going to do with it, and I am in no rush to have to decide; but, the holes that were left behind are still there and will always hold the snapshot that I had taken that day, years earlier, when I finally realized that my daughter had grown up and became an adult.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Cox09/17/09
This was very nice. I love the line about her needing more wall space...thats sooo true..My mother used to tease me for taking up all the wall space and now that I have a home of my own Ive covered more walls than I could dream about...and my daughter's well they are following in my footsteps...Good story.
c clemons09/17/09
Nice job.
Shilo Goodson09/21/09
You have a well-written story. I like the wall being used as a representation of the daughter's life. The walls are full, and it's time to move on.