Welcome to Man Cave Mondays! Every Monday I will post my thoughts and reflections on marriage and parenting from the male perspective. My wife has this blog six days out of the week, but she asked if I would like to have some space on it one day a week. That’s very generous of her, since I don’t possess a real Man Cave at the Cloverwood Chalet in Nashville. Yes, gentlemen, as a husband to one wife for 18 years, father of three children, my physical space in this world – my private retreat – has been relegated to the virtual world (or the bathroom when nature calls).
My experience with losing space has been a gradual one. When my wife and I first married, she very generously supported a hobby that I developed as child – collecting comic books. I was always a huge Superman fan and loved to collect all things Man of Steel. After our marriage and subsequent three bedroom ranch home purchase, I had one whole bedroom for my comic book collection! I painted the Superman “S” shield on one of the walls, painted the other three walls in red, blue and yellow, and began the process of creating my own private retreat. It really was beautiful. Superman posters, Superman comic books, and Superman toys (unopened of course!) My weekly trek to my local comic book store was a highlight of my week. I loved reading the stories, the fantasy, the adventure, and the just plain fun that comic books brought. It was a great, healthy escape.
Then, we made children. Without even realizing it my man space began to shrink. First, it was the collecting itself. I stopped collecting comic books the summer before my first daughter was born. The money had to be used for diapers, clothes, layette (whatever the hell that was), and all things baby. The spare room was turned into a nursery for her so my comic room was safe…for now. Soon, it was time for child number two! The comic room had to go. I remember clearly painting over my beloved “S” shield with periwinkle so that my daughter could move into that room and my son would have the nursery. What happened to the comics? They were moved into my parents’ attic.
So, now, my hideaway consists of the Sunday paper and the bathroom (fellas, do you feel me on this?). However, while I have lost physical space my life has actually grown. Every one of those losses were opportunities to grow into my own manhood. Cloverwood Chalet is a tight fit. Five people and a cat in 1200 square feet of home ain’t much space, but when we’re laughing over pancakes (like we did this morning) after a slumber party with two more girls in the house, well, it feels like I have all the room in the world.
NOTE: The blog is in my wife's name...so, even in the virtual world, my man space is shared!