Downsizing & Shared Spaces

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The plan was to stay in Hawaii for two months. I brought a suitcase containing the warm-weather clothing I expected to need. My carry-on held the computer, toiletries, Kindle and 5 pairs of readers. Marty brought two suitcases, one for clothes and another for his engineering necessities, and two surfboards. The two kids brought everything they needed for a semester of college and everything they owned.

The four of us moved into a 350 sq ft studio apartment. We didn't specifically say we were downsizing -- but it was fairly obvious. The unit was furnished with a double bed, futon couch, table, chair, two barstools and a small kitchenette. The only place for any privacy was in the bathroom. But since the kids were moving into their dorms in four weeks we figured we’d be ok. And we were.

Our son was a good sport about sleeping on a camping pad on the floor so our daughter could have the futon bed. They tolerated our attempts at meaningful conversation. And not having an oven taught us the wonders of an air fryer.

We had AC, but using it was debatable because it froze the person sitting next to it and didn’t cool any air more than five feet away. We depended on the two ceiling fans. I was still several degrees warmer than I preferred but I knew that excess heat was going to melt away the “baby” fat I’ve been trying to lose since my 18 year old was born.

We enjoyed the family closeness that comes only when two adult children are forced by circumstance to eat every meal with their parents and sleep in a communal bedroom. How do I describe that closeness? How about awkward, humorous, irritating, sweaty, irreplaceable.

Bless their hearts, the kids tried to be tidy, but really what 21-year-old man/boy cares about a laundry basket (or doing laundry)? And we all know how much bathroom counter space a teenage girl requires.

But then the day came. No, I hadn’t downsized 20 pounds. The kids moved out. We had So. Much. Space. Copious closet space, wide expanses of refrigerator shelves and the ability to walk across the room without tripping over someone’s long legs.

I won’t pretend I wept or struggled to say goodbye. The kids didn’t seem the slightest bit unsure about moving out. It was a day of rejoicing for everyone. And, after all, we were just up the road.

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  • Gretchen on

    Your words make it so easy to visualize. Having had 6 sons also helps too!🥰

  • Sarah on


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