Beginning this month, Offspring the First will be living in her own apartment instead of the dorm. She and Herself spent a fair amount of time at the local megasuperstore, picking out linens for her new bedroom and bathroom, collecting a basic set of kitchen implements, contemplating vacuums, and obtaining various necessities. They visited the food warehouse and purchased giant quantities of rice and pasta and other carbohydrates for her pantry. Offspring the First carefully researched inexpensive and practical furniture and made her few selections. A mattress/box spring will be delivered next week. Then, her new nest will be complete.
Herself is very happy for Offspring the First. She is also, she admits, just a tiny bit envious. Herself had always wanted to have her own apartment, and to choose her own furniture and decorations and bits and pieces, to have her own space. As life would have it, though, her domiciles post-high school were a succession of dormitories and apartments with apartment-mates, up until the time when she and Beloved Husband were married. Many of their pieces of furniture were inherited/offered from family members -- very kind offers for a couple starting out with nothing. It was all fine, and good, and still is, even now. She has no regrets -- just an occasional sense of wistfulness, of what would it be like. The road that could not be taken.
When Herself was a child and a teenager, she was not particularly neat (as most children/adolescents). On the occasions when the disarray in her room became more than Herself's Mother could tolerate, Mother would take action. Herself would arrive home from school or come in from playing outside, and discover -- smack in the middle of the floor of her room -- a pile made of all of the items that Mother had found to be out of place. Herself's job then was to put the items back properly, in their correct places.
Herself does not think that Mother intended to be mean -- Mother was probably just trying to facilitate the efficient cleaning of Herself's room in the means she found most expedient. Nevertheless, Herself was a sensitive child (as Mother would freely admit); Herself remembers crying, in a boiling impotent rage, as she pulled items out of the pile and put them away. There was such a sense of an intrusion: a feeling that what was hers was not really hers, that there was no safety or security or privacy in her bedroom. A violation of her space.
Because of her memories of those times, Herself tries very hard as a mother to respect her Offsprings' personal spaces. It's a fine line to walk -- allowing them to live in rooms of disarray, reminding them (chastising them, nagging them) to clean in order to maintain a certain level of hygiene and tidiness, and yet not intruding. She feels very strongly, though, that they should have security and privacy in their spaces. Without any grave suspicion of untoward activity (drug use, furtive dangerous secrets), there should be no need to pry into their habitats.
She feels the same way about other people's spaces. On the occasions when she has fed Cherished Friend's fish while he has been away, she has made a beeline from the front door, to the fish tank, and then back out again. If she has had to leave a note for Beloved Husband in his office when he is not there, she has made every effort not to disturb his papers or open his desk even just to retrieve a pen. Any time she steps into someone else's space, she is hesitant to walk around, or even to look too closely -- she does not want to intrude. Ever.
Her bright-line rule: no trespassing. It's a matter of respect. One does not enter another person's room or open another's storage spaces without specific permission. Sometimes, even a small safe space of one's own can be most important, indeed.
Even the bower bird likes a space of his own. Photograph found here.