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Personal Space July 26, 2015

I’ve been married now for 3,129.285 years. So it seems. Things that happened before I got married seem somewhat unreal, almost like they are memories of a movie I once saw rather than things that actually happened to me.

So, needless to say, the honeymoon stage is over. Way over. My husband and I have lived in the same house for so long that it is impossible to keep up pretense. He knows the raw me, the one that has morning breath that could peel paint, the one that is snippy and snappy after a long day at work, and the one that hates wearing makeup and tailored clothing. He’s seen me be sick, he’s been there when I gave birth, and he’s seen my actual reactions to things that in public I’ve been rather stoic about.

All of which is a long introduction to say that once the face you put on for the public, the polite one, the shiny one goes away, it ain’t ever coming back.

I work, at the moment, three jobs. My husband earned his retirement after thirty years of public safety (Police, Fire, AND EMS) with DeKalb County and stays at home and collects a pension. As a result, I tend to get a little bit more exhausted by the end of the day than he does, and just like our days start at different times, they end at different times as well. I have a great deal of trouble staying up past 11, and I rarely even try. My husband is a night owl. He kicks it into high gear somewhere around midnight, banging things around and digging through plastic bags to find what he needs. I like things neat and organized. My husband’s organizational method can best be described as “one giant pile of random things strategically placed for maximum trippage in the middle of the night.”

And so, when my daughter packed up her stuff and left us to go to camp this summer for three weeks, I took my book and my reading glasses and my alarm clock and my teddy bear and took a little staycation and moved into her room. It seemed like a big deal, like a comment on something bigger than it was. But really? I just want to sleep in the dark and in the quiet and in a neat and organized environment. (Note: my daughter’s room is not, as a general rule, neat and organized. It usually looks like the police have just finished executing a search warrant at the home of a drug lord. But it is neat and organized now that there is no one but me to interfere with the contents.) The first night, I was afraid that I would be nervous and uncomfortable and would stare at the ceiling all night worrying.

Nope. I passed out instantly and didn’t wake up until the alarm rang. That, folks, is a miracle for me.

I also realized that her mattress, a memory foam one, is seriously comfortable.

I’ve enjoyed having my own personal space. I found myself jealous of my kids who have their own space. (Two of their own spaces, if you count their rooms at the lake house.) I mean, how come they are entitled to privacy and their own corner of the world, and I pay the mortgage(s), and I have to share mine? In what universe does that make sense?

Our house is relatively small, only three bedrooms, so there isn’t anywhere for me to claim as my own. This experience, though, makes me want to sell my house and buy a bigger one just so I can have my own room. I haven’t had my own room since, well, let’s just say that if I had a baby the last time I had my own room, that baby would be going off to college in a few weeks.

The other day my husband said to me, “I’ve missed having you in the bed, but I don’t really miss your snoring.”

I nodded gravely. “I miss you, too,” I said. “But I don’t miss you rattling your 50,000 baby food jars filled with assorted screws and nuts and bolts around at midnight after turning on the lights to find them.”

I’m not sure what I’m going to do when my daughter returns from camp. If both of my children were the same gender I’d make them share a room.

But they’re not. My son goes to college in only five short years, and there will be tons of camps and sleepovers outside the house between now and then to give me some respite. I’ve waited this long. I guess I can wait a little bit longer.

Personal Space

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Personal Space

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Lori Duff

Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side.  Her latest book, "If You Did What I Asked in the First Place" was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.