Breaking Up Is Hard to Do


After sharing a room with his sister for all five years of his life, Caleb is not sure how he feels about having his own bedroom.  More to the point, he definitely doesn’t love it that Katie has her own room, a room into which she can retreat at will and close the door on his brotherly pleas for attention.  Tonight, wearied by an unrelenting string of knock-knock jokes, she did just that, leaving Caleb standing forlornly alone in the hallway.

Not to be deterred, Caleb got down on his belly on the floor and directed his comments to the crack under the door:

“But Katie, I love you and I want to play with you!”



The door did not answer.

I couldn’t stand it.  I was on the verge of bursting into to Katie’s new retreat to demand, cajole, and otherwise compel her cheerful cooperation when I remembered that the promise of giving her a sacred space all her own was one of the reasons we moved in the first place.

Instead, I gathered Caleb up onto my lap and tried to soften the blow with some uninterrupted Mommy attention.

It worked pretty well, if I do say so myself.

All the same, as much as we looked forward to being able to provide the kids with their own space, it’s a little bittersweet to close the book on this room-sharing chapter of their lives.  I’ll miss the sound of their giggles as they kept each other awake long after lights out.  I’ll miss the tent castles they erected around their bunk beds with blankets and pillows.  I’ll miss the joint goodnight rituals and Caleb asking to be lifted into the top bunk for our nighttime prayer.  I’ll miss tiptoeing back in hours later to say a prayer of my own over the two sleeping forms in the bed, gazing at the beloved faces with helpless adoration and a painful recognition of how quickly my time with them is passing.

I’m glad I have those memories.  I’m glad they do.

I’m also glad that they’re stretching their legs at last and enjoying some long-awaited independence and privacy.

But I’m still not sure how I feel about that closed door.

I suppose in a few years I’ll be the one on the floor, talking to the crack.

3 responses »

  1. I would imagine another tent or two will pop up, as will a sibling sleep over. Katy is trying out her new freedom but after 5 years of sharing everything with Caleb, she’ll probably find out that she misses alot about it.

    Growing up, my siblings and I weren’t allowed to close our doors all the way and I currently don’t allow Bella to do it though I imagine one day I may. Possibly. 🙂

    What if Katy explained to Caleb that she’s going to her room for some privacy for X amount of time? Then he can have an idea when to expect her and not feel so lonely or abandoned. He surely feels that he’s losing the security, comfort and friendship that came with sharing a room.

    Awww…bittersweet, indeed!

  2. Doors…we all have ’em. For me, it was the door of age, and then geography. I wasn’t really “in” my sibling’s lives until they were in their early 20s and I was in my early 30s.

    I have hope for Katy and Caleb–what are their ages?

    And I have hope for you–I lost my parents for about twenty years, it seems, first to babies and then to geography. But now I talk to them almost daily.

    Bittersweet, but the last part of the word is “sweet.”


    okay, now I’m about to cry. You’re a good writer, Katrina, don’t anyone tell you anything other.

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