There’s a line in an Alien Ant Farm song, of which there are only two songs I especially like to begin with, but this one, Attitude, just stays with me for some reason. The beat and the message and, whatever. Anyway, it has a line that says, “It seems like we need our own space.”
Every time I hear that line, I nod to myself. And continue to not have any of my own space, because apparently that is what moms do in middle-class college-educated United States culture. The kids each have their own rooms, and Willem has his own office (which has recently been moved into our bedroom to save on heating costs, thereby reducing another space I had that was at least shared only with one other person). But all of my spaces are shared: the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room. I don’t have a space that is my own, except the great cavernous one inside my own head, some days.
But, as 2008 rolls to a close – and good riddance – I have high hopes for 2009. We’re moving to Massachusetts in June; I can say this without qualifiers because all of the obstacles and uncertainties to this have slowly ticked away: Willem has passed his minor and by then will only have a dissertation to complete, the money will be tight but we believe we have figured out a way to finance it, I certainly don’t have any job concerns. The only things standing between our current, soulless, ’70s prefab-on-a-slab tract house and my hundred-year-old house on the ocean are actions: calling the Realtor, getting a contractor in, starting to pack and minimize and clean for potential buyers. Actions that are within my sphere, particularly without that nasty complication of a job pulling down my spare time.
I don’t know that I’ll have my own space in the new house. I’m hoping for a craft room, such that I can have my yarn out and visible, pick up quilting, perhaps return to beadwork and mosaic, consider spinning and dyeing my own yarn. That would be lovely, particularly if it overlooks the ocean and has a door that closes all the way. But we’re also planning – planning, not just hoping – to open a B&B, and if I have to choose between another guest room and a craft room, well, closets hold yarn, too.
The difference will be, though, that this next house, all of it, will be my own space. I’m not going to compromise on location and age, on certain structural details (covered porch, fireplace, attic or basement for reasonably accessible storage, outside storage for the snowblower Willem won’t let me have in our current storage-strapped house), on vibe. I will stand in the empty house, tune out the Realtor’s natterings, pretend I’m all-the-way deaf, and just soak in the house until I find one that feels right.
I don’t blame all of 2008’s problems – inability to conceive, major illnesses, job loss, stress – on the house we’re in. But my negativity has imprinted upon the house, at least in my own perspective. I hate this house. I hate that it is on a slab, so the floors are always cold and the pipes from the new bathroom run up over the kitchen ceiling to reach the main outflow. I hate that it is just exactly the same as a dozen other houses in the neighborhood. I hate that the bathroom door creaks and scrapes no matter how many times we mess with it, and the attic pull-down steps are a debilitating eye injury waiting to happen.
So, for 2009, I’m pinning big hopes on finding and moving into a house that I can love. Love, not just like or tolerate. I want to love my home, and I want to be proud of it when I invite people into it. It’s the closest I will come to a New Year’s Resolution.