A Space of My Own

A Space of My Own

Hallie asks: Do you have a space like this in your home? A space that is all yours; a space filled with things that fill you with joy and peace; a space whose goodness only you can fully appreciate?

Oh such a timely question because just this week I have set about rediscovering a space that has been lost. I’ve been meaning to write about it and this is the perfect prompt to get me off my duff to do it.

I used to have a space like that. I set up my sewing table when we first moved in and it became a little haven for me. It sits in the laundry room right under a big window that looks out into the backyard. (I posted some pictures of it here.)

I made lots of pretty things and then it slowly got buried when Ben was a baby and has been lost   behind bins of clothing for almost two years—rather like Sleeping Beauty’s castle behind its hedge of thorns. (I wrote about my discouragement here.)

Finally this week I decided to unbury it and start sewing again. With profound and undying thanks to dear Margaret for the inspiration to just clear off the table and set myself little manageable decluttering goals with the reward of sewing time every time I did a bit to get rid of the mess. So I moved all the boxes of clutter out of the laundry room and into the office.  So it’s not really dealt with yet but at least it’s in Dom’s space and not mine.

I still need to clean and organize the table before it really can regain that old magic; but I’m longing for the little retreat where I can go and spend fifteen or twenty minutes making something pretty. I think my soul has been languishing for want of the creative outlet that quilting gives me and I finally realized that it does need to be a priority.

First, though, the girls have demanded that I teach them how to sew. So we are making dolly quilts. They are really too little to do any of the work. No rotary cutters or sewing machines quite yet. But I’ve let them choose their own fabrics and choose a design and they are watching me intently as I work.

I wanted to include pictures but that didn’t happen today. Maybe I’ll take some tomorrow; but perhaps it won’t happen. I’d rather just post this and maybe add pictures tomorrow if I can.

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  • Jessica, You’re welcome.

    I started off wanting to capture the perfection of the kids all sitting at the table together, spontaneously studying together. But that is a rare occurrence, not an everyday thing. And you know it seems false to present these ideal moments without the context of real life.

    I want to remember those times because they lift my spirits and make me feel we’re doing ok when I’m tempted to despair. But I also want to remember the meltdowns in context too, not blow them out of proportion and let them ruin the day.

    I want to remember that the child who dumped the food of his plate so disdainfully is the one who remembers his sister’s favorite song. And the girl with whom I clash so often tells the most delightful stories if I stop to listen.

    I’m glad too if it brings encouragement to other moms as well. It’s good to remember I’m not alone and that my three year old is just three and not a possessed creature. What is it about three year olds and being naked? And changing clothes several times a day? Mine walks around shirtless or pantsless
    and her favorite outfit is an undershirt and tights with nothing else. She doesn’t understand why she can’t wear it to the store.

    Ah this too shall pass, as Dom reminded me when I was sobbing at 5 this morning after Sophie woke up Anthony.

  • Thank you for taking the time to write this out. It’s such a comfort to me to know that other mothers are out there doing the same things I do each day. I’m comforted to know that other Mom’s melt down and yell back at their children and send them all outside in order to get quiet time. My days right now include an almost 3yr old who loves to take her clothes off and went outside in her pajamas today. When Todd and I were walking this evening I gave him a litany of how difficult she had been today. We’ve taken to calling her “the chaos generator.” I love to hear Bella’s stories as well. You are doing a great job:) Thanks for letting us share a day with you.

  • Melanie, my hat is off to you.  I’m exhausted just reading all of this.  I think you should forgive yourself for losing your temper now and then.  You’re doing awesome work while being tremendously challenged AND while raising 4 little ones, none over the age of 5! 

  • Thanks, Mary.

    Katherine, I did write this in bits and pieces throughout the day, so it’s not exactly a memory exercise. If I’d waited until the end of the day it would have been much shorter and sketchier and probably wouldn’t have been finished at all. That’s one of the things not strictly accounted for in my account, times I snuck onto the computer to write a snatch and check my email etc.

  • Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your day. Sometimes, the busyness of 4 little ones means, for me, that too much can become a blur. It is a wonderful idea to do this and be able to reflect on the day, the whole day with its highs, lows, joys and challenges and to be able to remember. I almost seems like a memory exercise for those of us past that grammatical stage. smile Hope you have a wonderful adventure today!

  • Melanie,
    You mentioned a flower press.  What did you use?  My just-turned-6 little boy is quite the scientist and animal/nature lover.  This sounds like something that he would love to do and it would also help him to learn some patience.  Maybe me too. smile

  • Melanie, I can’t help chuckling, and admiring you for including, the bit that includes “I scream at them to stop screaming.” I too have had those moments where I can perceive the irony right in the middle of the moment, and it’s not fun! Sometimes it seems like “everyone else” is having smooth, joyful homeschooling days with their kiddos, even though the very idea is ridiculous. I hope that writing out the day helped you realize that that was just one small rough spot in the midst of an otherwise lovely day. Sounds like normal life to me!

    P.s. You could totally recreate my craft table … For cheap! grin

  • Anne,

    My mom brought Bella a beautiful flower press when she last came to visit. (When Anthony was born.) I believe it was handmade by a woodcrafter in Austin. My mom frequently brings us toys that this particular guy makes. So I’m afraid that I can’t give you a link to the one we’ve got. But I can take a picture and show you.

  • Hannah,

    Oh yes, sometimes I can perceive the irony and yet have such a head of steam that somehow I can’t actually stop with the screaming already. Ah well. I tell the kids I’m a work in progress too and ask them to pray for God to fix my temper.

    Writing out the day definitely helped find some perspective. I do tend to see only the negatives and not the positive.

    What I really meant was that I wish I had room for a craft table; but in our tiny house we are all filled up and then some.

  • Wow, this is lovely. It really conveys the blur that a day with small children can turn into.
    I think there is something else really special about it too, that in between the words I can see your devotion, your commitment, the fact that you have no plan B, that this is your life and you are content with it, the surrender you have made to it, the daily surrender. I had it in the back of my mind as I was writing yesterday, thank-you.
    And Bella’s story completely caught my imagination. She has a gift!