Extra Small

Space.  I really like and often need my space.

It’s not that I get claustrophobic, it’s more a matter of needing to be alone.

I’ve always liked time alone.  Being an only child and living within a family of five, I crave it.

We went to Paris after Christmas this year, all five of us.  Our hotel was lovely and clean, but crazy small.  The kids room wasn’t bad, but Michael and I had to turn sideways to get past the bed and into the bathroom.

Europeans are not big on space.  They’ve got a lot of other things going for them, so they get away with it.

We spent hours walking together, riding in cramped metro cars together, sitting at tiny tables or standing under canopies in the rain eating the best damn fallafels we’ve ever had.

Even the vast museums of Paris were crowded.  We stood in lines literally on top of each other for the better part of many an hour.  We shared bottles of water and sometimes ate off the same loaf of bread.

During our nine days in Paris we laughed and argued, got pissy with each other, took pictures and held hands.

It’s what I love the most about our trips together, especially trips out of the country where geography and language are unknown or challenging, we’re a unit, in each other’s faces and sometimes forced to work together.

Not a moment of personal space or time in sight and for that period I love it.

Wouldn’t want to do it forever, but I felt drenched in the people of my life. Connected to my family and on this trip even connected to perfect strangers fighting their way back from the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve.

I had a moment of clarity about myself today.

Maybe I enjoy being alone, enjoy my own space because I know I don’t have to be alone.  I know that just beyond my door or hanging around my kitchen are people waiting to listen to me, talk to me and be with me.

Maybe that’s why I can revel in my own space.  I’ve never truly known what it is to be lonely.

I could not wait to get into my office when we got home.  I swore if someone asked me to hold one more thing or asked me one more question I was going to lose my mind.  Apparently the bliss of togetherness has a nine day, two plane ride shelf life.

I was looking forward to some time alone, but I’m feeling a little different about it after this trip. Believe me, I’ll still close my door and bark at Cotter when he comes barreling into my space, but I’m more…grateful for the people in my life.

Grateful I have a choice to spend time alone.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Scoot Over.

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