Space – The Final Frontier

Last summer, during an intimate conversation, a close relative said, “the kids need more room.”

He meant my kids.

He meant we were neglecting our three children by living in this tiny, two bedroom home, by keeping them cramped (like sardines) in this miniscule space. He’d never come right out and say it, but that’s what he meant.

My hackles went up. I defensively (and admittedly somewhat derisively) said, “NEED? They need more room?”

He didn’t intend to be offensive, but I couldn’t help being offended. The insinuation was that my children, by virtue of having been born in America in the twenty-first century, should have their own bedrooms and plenty of privacy.

Not only do my children not have an x-box or wii or whatever, they don’t even have their own bedrooms! I am a bad dad.

Maybe he meant space. They need more space. But they have three acres that we maintain in which to play, with trees to climb and a trampoline and a rope swing. Beyond that they have a two thousand acre state park, virtually in our backyard, where they roam and romp as free as birds. And that’s not enough?

Well, they also have the space to be themselves. We don’t force them to be like us, little mini-me’s we try to mold into smaller versions of ourselves. They get to express their own opinions. They get to think for themselves and are encouraged to think outside the box.

We’ve tried hard to provide them with the tools to be happy and healthy and emotionally well-balanced no matter what life throws at them.

But, still… They’d be better off if they had their own bedrooms?

There are so many givens in society, so many things we take for granted, and we act as if life as we know it would cease if we marched to the tune of a different drummer.

Actually, life as we knew it did cease when we laid our pre-conceived notions aside and moved our family of five out of a four bedroom house and into this little space we currently occupy.

We learned to share. We learned to respect each other’s privacy. We learned to face differences of opinion head-on, instead of closing ourselves off in a private cocoon and avoiding conflict. We learned to interact with each other and get along with each other.

And living here has been an incredible blessing to us in countless other ways. We’ve all grown and prospered here, individually, and as a family, and I wouldn’t trade our experience here for any amount of money. If you asked any of the other four members of my family, they would agree.

This was and still is a temporary home. We had no intention of staying. However, we didn’t count on being so happy here. We didn’t know how much fun it would be to live in this particular spot at this particular time in our lives. So we’ve stayed a little longer than we originally planned.

And we’ll probably eventually move into a bigger house. Or not. Maybe we’ll live in less space. Wouldn’t that be a riot?

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  1. I had to share a bedroom with my sister when growing up. She is now deceased and I am so happy for the memories of that time together. I also had to live in a one room cabin for many summers with my parents and brother and our dog because my father was a commercial fisherman. We played outside all day long. Those are my favourite memories.

    • A one room cabin sounds good to me. I just finished reading Little House on the Prairie to my kids and it made me think, for the five hundred millionth time, that maybe I was born in the wrong century. My kids found the story exceedingly boring, but I was enchanted again with the idea of living with nothing more than we can fit inside a covered wagon.

      Thank you for commenting!


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