Whenever I return to Ohio to visit my parents, I stay in what was once my bedroom growing up. The room has undergone drastic sets of changes in the 15 years since I vacated it for college, including one particularly odd version (when my younger brother took over the room) that featured a late 80s pastel wallpaper that only a used-car dealer could love. But the most recent renovation caught me off guard.
Two summers ago, I made an extended trip to cheer up my mother, who had recently retired from her job as a speech pathologist and hadn't yet found her groove, so-to-speak, in her post-employment days. In other words, she was getting a little squirrelly with all that excess time on her hands. When I hiked upstairs for the first time to drop off my bag in my old room, which upon last visit, resembled a study/guest room, I was shocked to find that my mom had turned the former bedroom into something of a walk-in shoe closet. Sure, there was still a place to sleep, lots of books and the hint of a window, but an entire half of the room was filled with shoe boxes, nearly floor to ceiling.
I walked back downstairs, a little confused, and most certainly ready to give my mother a very hard time.
"Is the room OK?" she asked.
"Your old bedroom."
"You mean the Nine West Outlet that moved in upstairs?"
"I'd be in heaven if I could squeeze into a women's size 8."
My mother laughed so hard, she started to cry.
"Thank God you're here," she said. "I needed that."
"You also need to hold a clearance sale so I can get some sleep tonight."