One of the big changes I've had to come to terms with in raising Aaron is the loss of my space. This comes in two forms, both space in my home and space in my head. There was a time in which I could escape to the office, allow my creative juices to flow and write until my heart's content uninterrupted. However, my office was converted into Aaron's bedroom and my desk is now in my living room where my husband watches television late into the evening until I'm too tired to feel inspired to write or read. Our renovation on our daylight basement was to result in an extra bath, family room and a new office space for me. But, the recent passing of my mother has altered our plans and we will be converting the downstairs into a small apartment for my father. The kitchen and living room have been taken over by a toddler table, chalk board, booster seat and toys. So, there are certainly days in which I miss having the space to spread out and not have the clutter from lack of space.
When we purchased our home it was the perfect size for just my husband and I, a small raised ranch with a great deal of potential for a building contractor and his wife. Our sons were grown and we found this small gem in the rough nestled on three acres surrounded on three sides by woods and nature. We had no idea that two years later we would be raising our grandson permanently, or that soon after my Mom would pass away and my Dad would be coming to live with us. I sorely miss the neatly placed items that have since been packed away for their own protection from little hands. I miss walking into a room and not having to scoop up a stray cracker or wipe up dribbled grape juice. The loss of physical space, while exasperating, does not compare to the loss of personal and emotional space.
It is rare that I actually have "me" time. Once Aaron is asleep for the night, my husband is typically watching television a few feet away for another two to three hours. As Aaron is getting older his naps have become shorter and I find that I have lost the quiet time to get lost in my thoughts, write, play a game or read for pleasure. A week ago my husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, which we spent quietly at home with our little Beastie, and it occurred to me that he and I have not been out to dinner, or any meal for that matter, alone since we took custody of Aaron back in January of 2011. It's not that we wouldn't like to, but Aaron's separation anxiety has only just begun to lessen and his emotional development has taken precedence. So "our" time is suspended until Aaron is a bit older and independent.
I certainly wouldn't change the way things are at this point in life. I am very glad that we were in a position to adopt Aaron and provide a happy, safe environment for him. I'm also very relieved that I can provide for my Dad in his time of need and know that the rest of his days will be worry free and enjoyable. But, there are those days when the stress of constant demands on my time and attention bring my frustration levels to a boiling point. I get impatient, irritable and desperate for some breathing room. Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband who will go to bed early or go see a friend in order to allow me that quiet time when I express the need for it. I use to feel guilty about needing my space. I use to think angry thoughts when I didn't get that space and would blame my husband for not providing me a period of solitude. Then it occurred to me that he can't know I need it if I don't speak up, and so I did.
Life isn't suddenly perfect and I am likely going to miss my physical and emotional space for a long time to come, but I am learning to recognize my needs. I'm learning that it's ok to be selfish sometimes and to encourage my mate to be selfish from time to time, too. I love being wife, G-Ma, Mom and daughter. But, I cannot reach my full potential in all of these roles if I don't make the time to be "just me" every once in a while. It cultivates my emotional wellbeing and maintains my sanity in an often crazy life. So speak up and let someone close to you know you need some spac
Make time for yourself, make space for yourself, love yourself, pay attention to yourself and your needs, only then can you be your best for those you love.
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