This story was written by Malati Marlene Shinazy
. . . Part Two . . .
I never had what could be called a room of one’s own. I use to feel cheated by this.
When I was a young, accomplished, award-winning seamstress, the only space in which I could work was my family’s living room. I would spread out my patterns, fabrics (yards and yards of wools, satins, velvets) scissors and pins across the living room floor. When the cutting was complete, I’d gather all the myriad pieces of a soon-to-be evening gown, cocktail dress or coat into a careful pile, carry it away in a box and clean the room for public use. I’d transport it all to the sewing machine in my mother’s room; sew for a few hours then, clean up again. I’d store all stages of my sewing projects on the foot of my bed; drag it out again, day after day, until the project was done.
I loved the time I had no room but a house full of kids. They were everywhere; their stuff was everywhere; their friends were everywhere. Oh yes, their cats, dogs, bunnies and birds were everywhere also.
I was there too, without the coveted room of one’s own. When they were very young, their dad and I often had to leave the master bedroom because the bed was filled with our kids. Dad had a great idea, however, and built small beds at the foot and sides of the master bed so each child could be near us, but in their own “nest.” …. Nope, this was definitely not a room of one’s own.
As the kids got older, although their dad and I divorced, we decided to have one house in which the kids would live. He and I would come and go. The kids wouldn’t have to schlep their stuff back and forth to each parent’s house on odd weekdays or alternate weekends. The divorced parents rotated, not the kids. Their environment remained stable for them…. Oh yes, when I vacated the house every other weekend and Dad came in, I’d empty “my” room and he’d take over…. Yes indeed, still, no room of one’s own.
Now my kids are grown. I have not just a room of one’s own. I have an entire house. I even have my own master bedroom with attached bathroom. I don’t share any room with anyone… At last, what I thought I always wanted has come to fruition. I have the ever-desired room of one’s own! Actually, I have lots and lots of rooms of my own!
But wait…. I recently realized something is missing… I only had to ask myself once, “What is missing?” The answer came quickly. What is missing is the family of my youth, with sisters and brothers tumbling around the rooms like puppies falling out of a basket. The family of my adulthood is missing too: kids and kids’ friends, pets, activity, noise, music, barking, laughter, giggling, phones constantly ringing. Did I miss anything? Probably… there’s a lot missing.
What I thought was so important all my life, a room of one’s own, is not actually something I want after all. For me, all this space leaves a void. I don’t really care for it. Not one little bit.
I’ve decided, Ii’s time for me to fill up the void with new pets and small clusters of friends. Also, whenever possible (not just on holidays), I’m going to invite over my brother and sister. And, although they are scattered all over the world, I’m going to create new traditions so my almost-launched kids, and their friends, come over for gatherings — filling the rooms with familiar laughter, chatting, and witty interchange.
For me, a room full of love and energy is much more satisfying than a room of one’s own.