Home Away from Home
Summer told me that when she was around nine years old, she would sit in the corner of her room next to her bed with a journal and write stories. She would do this at her Dad’s house and this ritual provided her with some comfort.
She had every reason to feel comfortable in the entire house, let alone in her very spacious bedroom that she had all to herself. There was no strain in the relationship that she had with her dad, yet she obviously needed a space of her own designated by her which turned out to be a small corner in her room.
Regardless of the reason and the details as to why she had to create something to provide ease to the transition between two homes, she accomplished this task. I do not think she planned and organized it. I think it just came to be, as though she followed her own footsteps. I do not have a name for what this beautiful nine year old girl did. But I do know that what she did was lead by some sort of instinct and I know what she created.
My children have two homes, just as many others do, and they have had to adjust to sleeping at mom’s house and family and Dad’s house and family. It is not unusual that there is one home that feels more like home than the other. But the problem is the feeling that occurs at night time, when it is time to go to sleep.
When I was a child I would go to sleepovers and never sleep because I was not at home. The good news is that I had an option to not go to sleepovers. That is not the case for our children who have two homes; they cannot generally choose not to go. So we send them off wanting them to be able to eat, drink and sleep peacefully, and we have twinges of discomfort thinking that they will lie in bed not feeling at home in their other home.
Well Summer found a spot in her home away from home that she claimed as her own; it was a little corner big enough for her small frame and a journal and pen. She found a way to comfort her feelings of being unsettled.
Summer knows that she did not experience anything differently than any other child encounters when they have two homes. But sometimes a home is too big and the bedroom in the home is too big and the bed in the bedroom is still too big. Sometimes just having someone designate your spot for you is what makes it too big and not your own.
I like Sheldon from the popular sitcom Big Bang Theory. Sheldon is not comfortable in his own skin let alone his own house. There is only one place in his apartment that he is comfortable other than the possibility of his bedroom. It is a specific corner of a couch. This corner of the couch is Sheldon’s place that any discomfort he may experience in life seems to dissipate. When his friends encourage him to find another place or designates another area for him, he finds the notion “preposterous.” Sheldon discovered that spot on his own, he uses it, finds comfort there and now that cushion bears his tush imprint. That is where he belongs.
In Summer’s innocent way, she made her tush imprint in a tiny corner of her room. She wrote stories there and she probably tossed a tennis ball up in the air and caught it in the same spot. Maybe that is where she used her remote control to the television or read a favorite book. I am not sure what she had in that corner of hers. I do know that she had her tush imprint there and that spot was her home in her home away from home.