When our oldest daughter was getting ready to “leave the nest” there were so many things to think about. Being an ex-pat family, living in Hong Kong it was always a given that she would head off to Australia for university. And you would think that going back to my home country for uni would be super easy. But there was way more to think about than I thought! And our schools here don’t really have many of the students going to the Southern Hemisphere for uni, so they don’t tend to provide a huge amount of support. It is more heavily focused on the UK and the USA. But...I digress. What I wanted to talk about was how important my daughter's bedroom space was to her. I had a friend tell me about this “issue/phenomenon” when they had their oldest daughter leave for university. She just said to me, “I just want to let you know, the bedroom is IMPORTANT!”. Of course, I need to know the story. Here goes.
“Within a couple of days of our daughter leaving, we just couldn't wait to turn her room into a TV/study. YAY! We moved out the bed, painted the walls and did a small amount of redecorating. We were so excited! Of course, we wanted to tell her what we had done and were sure that she would share in the joy. Ahhh nope. That wasn’t what happened. She was devastated. She cried. Her room was the one place that was her own and with all of the new transitions in her life, she at least knew that her room would be ready and waiting for her when she returned. So we promptly returned the room back to its original state. Peace restored.”
I guess one thing to note is that living in Hong Kong, space is definitely at a premium. We don’t generally live in big houses and many families don’t have extra rooms for a study/guest room/TV room etc. So if a child moves out it is like, 1. Who is getting that room? Or 2. What are we going to turn that room into? So when our daughter was getting ready to leave we definitely had a discussion about her bedroom. Being the oldest of 4 children and also knowing that her 2 siblings currently share a room, she knew that practically speaking we just couldn’t leave her room empty for her. She felt kind of okay about her sister moving into her room, mainly because she knew that it was unlikely that she would change much and it wouldn’t be turned into a “boys” room! Funnily, when she finally did leave, her sister didn’t move into her room for at least one week. She wanted to be “respectful”! So sweet. And when Sarah came home for her first 2 holidays, Sophie moved out of her room and went back to share with her brother. But by the end of the year, Sarah actually said to me, “You know what, it is Sophie’s room now and I really should sleep on the floor!” I was so proud of her and knew that she had come to terms with leaving her old room behind.