A Room of One’s Own

Well, no, I can’t exactly claim the same perspectives (nor groundbreaking insights) of Virginia Woolf. But truthfully, I’d never deny the beauty of a room of one’s own. A space for writing or thinking, for arranging things just-so, for practicing what it means to make a small, seemingly insignificant mark on this world – or at least your own corner of it.

We’re all in want of our X on the map. A backyard maple to crouch beneath. The front porch Adirondack. Your corner booth in the local bistro.

For me, it was always the sunroom.

Lovingly renovated from a rundown back porch into a glass hideaway, the sunroom was my own room of one’s own. Typing on the sofa, entertaining friends over chips and guac. A space for both quiet and laughter, equal parts peace and joy. On any given afternoon, with any given beverage, I’d retreat to my room with something restorative on the agenda – notebook, novel, nap.

And then, as it happens, little ones arrive with their pulsing bodies of energy. With their big ideas and adventures, their explorations and experiments. Who could stifle such wonder?

playing

This week alone, my cozy corner chair has moonlighted as mountain, cave, train. The head of a donkey, a boat in the harbor. A trampoline, a platform, a stage.

Although it happened slowly, I can see that the room of my own is no longer my own. No naps to be had, no words to fall into.

But there are other things.

I have long considered the definition of sacrifice to be making room for someone else’s plans/dreams/needs. Of putting yourself on hold, clearing the way for another.

But as it turns out, sacrifice offers two definitions. Atonement is one. The second? Blessing. Sanctification. The invoking of happiness.

Yesterday, when I trade my novel to watch a budding performer sing Rich Girl, as I sit down with a mug of butter coffee and watch a brother look up at a sister, eyes wide and face awed, grinning wildly as if the world turns around her axis alone, I understand.

playing

There are many moments of the smallest sacrifices, in parenting and beyond. There have been – and will be – sleepless nights, earned tears, changed bodies, changed minds. In the grand scheme of things, the moving of a couch and forgoing of an afternoon book is a meager offering, hardly significant. One of many.

The details don’t matter.

But making space does, in whatever way we can. Trading theories for wonder, criticism for curiosity. Kissing the precious plants and spotless sofa goodbye; heralding in an unpredictable mess. Swapping out a limited view of self care and allowing ourselves the surprise of something else. Giving up our cozy couch; receiving front row seats to a far greater show.

A room of two’s own.

It’s simple, and simply transformative: the making of our homes into a place where all – kids and non-kids alike – can practice what it means to fall and land safely, on a pile of pillows or otherwise.

On the head of a donkey, a trampoline, each other’s unfurled arms.

Yesterday, a neighbor in lipstick and footed pajamas knocks. Can I come play?

It is not a good time. We’re prepping for bedtime and I’m remembering yesterday when she visited, a bagful of sticky Skittles in hand, the logical reason for this morning’s trail of ants from the front door to the back.

But then I think of how my room is no longer my room. How, sometimes, we practice offering space so much that we get really good at it.

Be right out, I say. But no Skittles, k?

She smiles, laughs, runs over to her spot on our tire swing.

Plenty of room for one more.

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  • Yes, sacrifice, giving up of our spaces. I, too, have done this happily, watching my children envelop all of me and all of our surroundings with joy. Just recently though I read this quote by Doris Lessing and it’s got me thinking….I might just need to regain a little corner again, a place to just be mine, to make room to let more in, let dreams fly around and out. A silent whisper of a place to pray and listen and be.
    “Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a wordprocessor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is, “Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?” Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas – inspiration.”–Lessing