Yaya’s best friend left her home few days ago. She completed grade 12 and took early admission decision in one of the Ivy league colleges and got her admission. Although her classes start only in end of Aug, she has decided to join a language school in Europe and travel around a bit before going to US.

Her mother is a good friend of mine and I go to their house often. Before she left, I went over to her house to say good bye.

“Do you want to see something?” My friend asked and then she took me to her daughter’s bedroom.

Apart from the bed(missing the bed sheet and pillow), the study table, the chair and the electrical fittings, the room was empty. Absolutely empty. All the posters that adorned the walls, the fluffy pink carpet on the floor, the bean bag and all the knick knacks collected over 17 years have gone. There were no traces of 17 years of life lived in that room.

Apparently the daughter felt, it is only right to clear out her stuff as she is leaving home.

The past few weeks Yaya has been busy cleaning out her closet and I thought that was a good thing. Now I think, she too is purging all evidence of her existence in my house.

I know as a parent I must let her go, but what I didn’t know was that letting go involved removing all evidence of existence..

11 thoughts on “Emptiness

  1. Sara,

    I too have kids in this age group and hence see lots of kids going away to college. It is never easy for a parent. But I have never heard of this style of going away. Maybe it means nothing, maybe it means something as she is just a kid. Only time will tell. Did this make it harder for your friend though?


    • SS: Yaya had 14 classmates in grade 12.(IB). Two decided to study in US, 4 went to Melbourne, One to Sydney and the other 7 joined various Uni’s in Brisbane. Of the 7, only one has chosen to stay with his parents, the rest have already started working part time and living in shared accommodation. One of the girl’s family home is walking distance to University of Queensland..and she was the first to move out of her parents home. I had always thought, going to Uni was just like a trip overseas and that you come back home.. But I guess I was wrong.

    • MS: This was not the first time I saw something like this, but this one hurt the most because I could see what my friend was going through.. I know without any doubts that my friend is an awesome mom… A friend from Chile tells me that she did the same when she went to Uni..that she even took the table lamp..even though her uni dorm came with a table lamp.

  2. Wow.

    I never seen anything or heard anything like that where rooms are completely barren.People in my experience would leave some things behind. When I left for college, I left a lot of things behind and only took what I really needed, not my entire room. It’s good cuz whenever I returned home, I still was able to return to the room that was always mine. Funny thing is it’s been almost 22 years since my family moved into our current home and my room has pretty much been the same since I first moved into it. No major changes or remodeling done (except my floor went from carpet to hardwood a few weeks ago).

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I’m a mom with 2 kids post college, both live away from home now.
    I have several friends whose kids are in similar age groups and others who are newbies to college age kids. Many are Indian, but I have a healthy number of Westerners as well.
    My own kids have taken bits and pieces from home with them to keep at their new place. However, this is the first time I’ve heard kids removing all traces of their existence from their parents’ home.

    This is really strange. Perhaps she wants it to be home away from home.
    What will she do when she comes back to Moms??

    • Mona: The fact that she even threw away her pillow clearly shows, she isn’t coming back home and she doesn’t want anyone to remember her.

  4. Your posts always seem to give me an idea of what my Mum must be thinking. Now I know exactly what not to do when I leave for uni in the summer! Although, it’s funny bc I thought I should do the same as the girl here. I thought I should clear out my things completely so Mum could use it for something else or not to get too upset if she ever misses me and wanders by my room. I guess not?

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