By Karen Hibdon
As my son wraps up his last year of high school, I realize how much he has changed since he entered kindergarten. When he was five years old, he read the back of the cereal box in the morning while eating breakfast. Now he flips through the Wall Street Journal at the breakfast table, while starting political arguments with an efficiency that comes from years of practice. The artwork that used to hang on the refrigerator door has been replaced by prom tickets and an acceptance letter from the university he will attend in the fall. His last round of AP testing is underway so the dining room table is buried under textbooks and piles of notebook paper covered with his unintelligible scrawl. (One thing that hasn’t changed much since kindergarten is his handwriting!) The paperwork required for his summer job sits in a folder on his desk, while a glossy rowing magazine lies on his bedroom floor along with unfolded laundry, his cell phone charger, and the box that delivered his last purchase from Amazon.
Although my son is a happy member of the ‘Digital Generation’, his life continues to be improved, chronicled, and supported by physical things like paper. As a mother, I am so grateful for the tangible mementos he leaves in his wake. The college acceptance letter and graduation memorabilia will certainly join his early artwork; his cute short stories; and his handmade Mothers’ Day cards in my box of treasured keepsakes.
To be clear, though, I wouldn’t mind if some of the less-treasured items were to find their way to another box—the recycling bin! I join the eternal chorus of mothers everywhere when I say “Clean your room!”