Two years ago, because Anna wanted/needed a bigger bedroom, we did a renovation of sorts to our home. We decided to give her our room, and then enlarge the bedroom in the attached in-law apartment (that we had been using as an office/catch-all space) since it already had it’s own bathroom, to create our new “master” bedroom.
My brother-in-law flew in from Florida for a week to help with the renovation which included:
- extending the our new bedroom into the laundry/mudroom area
- creating an new laundry alcove
- moving the plumbing for the washing machine
- reflooring the laundry/entry area
- painting our new bedroom
- painting Anna’s new bedroom
- painting Anna’s old bedroom which was to become my office space
- moving all furniture to the new rooms
Due to timeframe (and budget) restrictions we were unable to redo the bathrooms although we had hoped to loop those into the process. Nonetheless, all of the above went smoothly, and as planned, and we have been quite happy in our new digs.
In theory, the new, cozy, office was supposed to be my space to write. A quiet place where I could close the door, tune out the world, and spend time writing the great American novel. I chose the paint color, and created a love wall of the girl’s artwork. Steve built me an incredible new desk which I filled with special treasures, things that make me happy, and we moved in a bookcase and filled it with inspiration. It was perfect.
In the beginning, I didn’t mind when we moved the futon into the office; I thought it would provide a nice place to sit and read. Little did I know the futon is the gateway furniture to a guest bedroom. I’m okay with guests sleeping in my office, really, I am. I enjoy having people here, and it makes more sense than asking them to sleep in the living room on the couch. I want people to be comfortable in my home and, to help that happen, I can easily share my space.
About a year ago, my sister-in-law hit some hard times, and she asked if she could come and stay with us for a few months. Of course, we said she could come, and, naturally, with the futon and all, the office was the logical place for her to occupy. Although, I will readily admit to a feeling a tinge of loss, I was very much okay with her having my space. It was the right thing to do; it was a lesson for our children on compassion and giving what we have of ourselves when someone is in need. I was sad cleaning my personal belongings out of the room, I was, but that sadness was tempered by a sense of thankfulness that we had the space, and ability to help her, and it dissipated completely as soon as she moved in. She stayed the few months she needed to stay, and the office was her space while she was here.
Since then it has never felt like my space again. And, I don’t know why. We’ve moved my stuff back in, I spend time in here, but it’s not the same. Not that it matters, of course; I don’t even know why I’m writing this or how I got off on this tangent. In the big picture it is simply a room, much more than some people have, and it is a selfish sadness to crave it for myself. Yet, I do.
Perhaps it is because so much of my life is chaos these days? Perhaps it is because job hunting is terrible and frustrating and demeaning and self confidence draining? Perhaps it is because my girls are both struggling with things beyond my ability to fix?
Anna is having a hard time in school. The overt bullying has subsided, mostly, but all of her relationships have been affected, and she can’t seem to figure out where she stands, can’t seem to get her swagger back. I know some of that is quite normal for her age, and comes with the territory of being in middle school, but so much of it is a direct result of being bullied, and I hate it. I hate watching her struggle to navigate her new reality.
Hayden, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, is having horrible stomach issues; her IBS is flaring which makes her anxious, which makes her IBS flare up. Lather, rinse and repeat. She’s stressed and trying to figure out how to lessen that stress, trying to determine which activity that she loves she should let go of for now, until the rest is under control. She is so sad about it all. It breaks my heart to see her struggle.
I guess, maybe, I’m just desperate for something I can control. The office is the one space in this house that is supposed to be mine, and only mine, and I should be able to have the only say in how it is decorated, how it is arranged, how it is utilized. I want to feel safe here. Like everything will be okay with my family because, out there? Out in the real world? It’s not so easy.