Diverting a Daddy Disaster

Posted March 31, 2011 by jimhigley

My girl is snuggled up in her bed, sleeping soundly under her favorite Pottery Barn comforter. With four feathery pillows surrounding her head, a collection of treasured photos on her nightstand and two beloved stuffed animals sitting nearby on a shelf. Looking over her. As they always have.

It’s her first night home from college. She’s back for a much needed spring break. After a tough couple of months with a few too many curve balls, she’s relieved to be home.

“I’m so happy to be in my own bed, Dad,” she said to me before we all turned in for the night. She looked so peaceful and content. Just like she used to when she was a little four-year-old in a Cinderella nightgown, with the smell of toothpaste on her breath, ready to crawl under the covers.

“Sleep tight,” I smiled to her as I shut the door.

And then I looked up to the ceiling and breathed a sign of relief realizing how close I just came to pulling a huge daddy blunder.

You see, a few hours before her return home, her bedroom looked nothing like the room she last left a couple months ago. It’s become my spillover room. My junk room. I never quite got around to making her bed after I stripped the sheets from her last visit. Maybe that’s because a few boxes of Christmas decorations that I’ve been meaning to repack have been sitting on top of her mattress. Along with three bags of clothes ready to turn over to a charity.

Some pants that need alterations have been draped over her desk. A suitcase that should go in the attic was stuffed under her desk. The light in the ceiling has been in need of a new bulb for two months now. I don’t really mind though. But I notice it every morning as I pull myself into the big open space in the middle of her room where I do my morning sit-ups, push-ups and assortment of other exercises – many with a jumbo exercise ball (which I gladly leave in the middle of her room 24/7).

I know she loves her room. But the truth is, I do, too. For very different reasons. But I do love it. It’s the one room in the house that I freely leave in a state of mess, shut the door, and forget about it.

It’s my secret room.

Did I just say “my?”

And while I’ve been excited to see my daughter, it’s forced me to grapple with the condition of her bedroom over the last week.

So I made her bed with freshly laundered sheets. I dusted. I replaced the light bulb in the ceiling fixture. But I convinced myself that the rest of my “stuff” would be fine if I just moved it over to the side of her room.

“She’ll understand,” I tried to convince myself. “Surely she won’t mind only being able to crack open her closet door. It’s just for a couple days.”

And for the last two days, her room looked like a combination of a catalog-perfect room for a princess and a storage unit.

But two hours before her arrival, she sent me a text.

“I’m so excited Dad.”

And within thirty minutes, a room transformation occurred.

Not her bedroom. Mine. Which now looks like the storage unit.

But it’s okay. And while I kind of hate sleeping with a big exercise ball on top of me, I like knowing my girl is snuggled up in her bed.

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  • Anonymous

    My Daughter is a college freshman as well and I can imagine doing the exact same thing as you if she didn't commute. While I am excited to watch her start her life as an adult, I must admit, *I* feel more secure in the fact I still get to have a few more years where I get to give her a hug and kiss her forehead and say goodnight before she heads off to sleep just down the hall.

    ~Juli

  • Shannon

    Love this. I remember when I came home from college that first time, and saw what they'd "done" to my room. It had become the storage room, and it sunk it (a little too soon) that I was never coming home again. I mean, of course I came HOME, it just was never the same as it was before. And it wasn't, and my Dad never understood why. It's neat that you "get" that.