Sunday, April 01, 2007

Do No Enter!

We see this sign all the time. There are others, similar, but with the same caution.

"Do not enter!"
"Under construction! Please excuse our mess."
"Caution! Enter at your own risk!"

This sign happens to be posted on my 17 year old son's bedroom door. I'm sure you can figure out why. The funny thing is that the sign is not a deterent to me. That sign was an invitation! I entered, yes, at great risk to my senses, yet willing to take that risk. It wasn't out of curiosity. It was out of sheer defiance.

After all, I am the mother.

And yes, I was horrified. Yes, I was not happy with what I found on the other side of the door. Yes, there was dirty laundry in piles ON THE FLOOR! (I'll spare you by not including a photo of the actual room.) It's interesting to note that my unwanted inspection spurred on spring cleaning and there is no such mess to be seen at this point (yet, the sign remains).

I think he believes he might as well keep it up because it's bound to get nasty in there again. And at some point, he hopes I will stop caring about the mess on the other side of the door.

Some of us put the "Do not enter" sign up as our default. Initially it draws attention, sort of like the morbid curiosity of driving by a car accident. We walk right into someone else's life, oftentimes univited, to see the mess on the other side of the door.

Our involvement or intervention may spur on someone to "clean up their act," but there is always that possibility that once we go back to our own lives, the dirty laundry piles up again. After awhile we stop caring because we don't understand why they just can't keep their stuff together. We're tempted to walk away.

I know my son just doesn't feel he can stay on top of things the way I expect him to right now. We all go through times when we don't have the energy to keep everything as it should be. We tape the "Do not enter" sign on the door and honestly hope no one will see our mess. Even though my room is neat as a pin (at this moment. . . ) I can remember when, as a teen, it wasn't. My mother's answer was to close my bedroom door. She ignored my mess. But I can't ignore his mess. Not because I'm a neat freak, but because I know how he handles today's mess affects how he'll handle tomorrow's mess. I want to be there to help him when he asks for it.

After all, I am the mother.