It started out as my widow’s cottage. No, he was alive and healthy. This was after he got the new kidney and there was no particular reason to believe I would outlive him. I was tired of the huge, unfinished country home. The kids were grown; it seemed like an unreachable dream to complete the work. Then repairs became out of reach.
Living with other people. Starting out a life together made it seem easy; it was a natural law that we would be a family, grow and multiply and grow old together. The automatic blending of family customs, the discovery of new ways that worked for us.
Then we added people. New power dynamics; where does hospitality become extended family with the increased demands on compromise? When guest becomes resident, how much remains of private domains within the whole?
It almost seems inevitable that I would struggle with ours changing from mine and thine to yours mine and hers. Looking back, I made no distinction between mine and ours. Moving forward I grasped at mine.
So. A tiny one person abode. Comfortable according to my desires with none others’ considered. A tree shaded, perennial garden surrounding it. A stone path picking its way through to the entry. Plants that encourage butterflies and bees, that feed the birds and shelter squirrels, chipmunks and yard bunnies.
A dog named Doorbell who only barked for company at the door. A snuggly cat – he was too allergic to consider one. A comfy reading nook and a well organized kitchen. A place for everything and everything in its place. A childhood reality become distant dream in maturity.
From childhood through college years to marriage. I’ve never lived independently. In separation I’m safe in my new family home.
The widow’s cottage has changed from dream to vision. Maybe a cabin in the back. Maybe a studio in the garage. I spend my escape time drawing rooms, arranging furniture, browsing through interior design. The years have taught me patience. I spend my working time shedding the baggage of the past and the tyranny of things. When the vision takes form, I will carry only joy with me.