With my oldest back at university, most likely to go from classes to co-op, I have been eyeing his room.
For the past six years, blackout curtains shrouded the space in shadows, trapping the lingering smell of "teenage boy", dust mites dancing in the light the few times I dared venture in and open a window to ensure he was still alive...and not a vampire.
With a desk and long, low dresser crammed underneath his double loft bed, he hibernated in his cave during his high school life and I tried to just shut the door and pick my battles. While I have I have, I am sure, passed on many of my neuroses to my oldest, the need for order, beauty and LIGHT in life was not one of them.
I had assumed that my youngest would naturally claim his brother's space when he left; a rite of passage, moving up to "the high bunk". I was secretly thrilled that he wanted to stay in his own room...a double loft bed is not helpful when your seventy-something mother comes to visit.
Out of sight, I did a little happy dance as I re-imagined the space.
So I reached out to my Facebook family from my ADTP days to see if anyone could use the furniture. My dearest L, accepted the offer and before I knew it, I had found a new home for his bed, desk and dresser.
Her son would come and move them out--which allowed me to get things done while the Spouse was away. I invited L to come for coffee and we caught up under the vibrant, morning glory enveloped gazebo as furniture moved swiftly down the stairs and out the door.
We both remarked on how easy it was to share, with someone who "got it", who had been there: someone who understood hollow, empty, broken hopelessness that can sneak up on you and drag you into the abyss. You never feel like you have to explain. It just is.
When she had to leave we stopped to chat for a minute more at the door.
"Can you believe how far you have come? I mean, here I am in your house!"
I looked at her, puzzled.
"Your social anxiety! How you couldn't have people in your house, the thought would send you spinning, so you never socialized."
My hand flew to my mouth as I gasped in realization, my eyes flooding and goosebumps tracking up and down my arms. It was true. All that she said was true.
But I had forgotten.
I had actually forgotten.
And I had no idea when it happened; when I moved from anxiety to a warm comfort level.
It wasn't a conscious thing, I didn't work on it or try exposure therapy or meditate or visualize about it; at least not consciously. I hugged her---long and hard---I confessed to her I had forgotten that I felt that way. What an amazing gift she gave me that day. The gift of perspective, celebration and recognition of my Work in Progress.....
What happens while you are living your life...amazing.