Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Aerie

Our house has a bonus room, an unfamiliar term before moving here. I remember our excitement when the realtor led us upstairs, “Wow, a bonus room, how cool is that?” We weren’t sure what a bonus room was, but oh, we wanted one.

Ours is built over the garage--small, as bonus rooms go, but the reason I fell for the house. One wall has built-in shelves and cabinets, another has built-in drawers. I was in awe as the realtor showed us the room--the storage potential alone was phenomenal. How had we lived without a bonus room? Why didn’t builders in other states add this wondrous, architectural feature?

From day one, I had great plans for the bonus room. It would start as a playroom, becoming a game/theater room as the kids grew. Sleepovers would be magical, birthday parties enhanced, and the family room would be toy free.

I emptied boxes, hung pictures, put away toys—the bonus room looked great. However, the kids didn’t mirror my excitement…they felt isolated in the room. Turns out they liked being underfoot, and I enjoyed having them there.

Slowly, the room fell into neglect, becoming an overflow space for seasonal items, future garage sales and unwanted toys. The door remained closed, hiding the dust and chaos.

One day, while scrabbling through boxes and discarded items, searching for ski clothes, I realized how quiet the bonus room was. Sunlight filtered through the window, and I felt totally alone…a completely foreign state. Simultaneously, I realized that I didn’t have a quiet space of my own, and I really needed one.

In that moment, The Aerie was born. It’s taken months to clear the clutter, and it’s still a work in progress. But it’s my space, and I love it. I feel like I’m in an attic, high above the world. It’s where I write, contemplate, and work on lesson plans.

The Aerie has also worked magic on my children. Suddenly, they find things by themselves and occasionally even settle arguments. The thought of trekking up and down the stairs to talk with me seems to motivate initiative...I'm not complaining...

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