by Bailey on January 16, 2012 in Home Culture, Uncategorized

At my three-year-old Blues Clues birthday party, a girl tried to blow out my candles. I snapped, “It’s my birthday.” We caught it on tape. Nobody ever lets me forget it. Even at three, I was territorial, very fixed on having a special place, a special time, a special something “just for me.”

It’s my birthday.

We’re all like that sometime. In a world we won’t let own us, in a busy life that oftentimes does, we crave space. We crave a territory. We want to put down roots in something untainted by another’s opinion, in a place where we can breathe and create and reconnect with ourselves – and something greater than ourselves.

I think that’s why women love home. I never understood it before, the womanly obsession with vacuuming and decorating. Why not throw a rug over the unswept floor, hide the dirty dishes under a towel and keep that ugly couch? That was my logic. (If you saw my desk, you would know why.)

Then I got my own room.

I grew up with bunk beds and babies. Two to a room, at least – we were at four girls and two bunk beds as of a few weeks ago. And I loved the communal aspect of bunking with best friends. I loved the late night chats and the early morning murmurs. I saw it as “our” space (and as such, I relieved myself of the responsibility of keeping it picked up – Bethany would do it).

When the baby quit her crib and bumped my younger sister into my top bunk, I was homeless. I packed up and went for a walk down our hallway (17 seconds if you take the laundry room shortcut) and overwhelmed myself with my new room.

Me? Alone? In a big bed closer to the floor than the ceiling? Downright traumatic, if you ask me. Yet the prospect was a curious one.

It was the former guest room. My mother had redecorated it a while before, hanging black-and-white wedding photos and baby pictures, shelving mementos and handmade keepsakes. I was surrounded by home. By family. By women who’d made up my mother’s past and my present. And I was moving in here with my American Girl doll and a couple of photos, to add my presence into the mix.

I wanted to make it my home, too. To put down roots. To keep the bedspread smoothed and the Kleenex in the trash and the floor vacuumed.

This was my place.

I settled in just before Christmas, just after we’d cut a pile of floppy snowflakes. Giddy with homeness, I taped them above my bed to watch them dance in winter light. I was very satisfied with myself.

And that got me thinking. What made this a home to me – my space?

Beauty. Simplicity. Breathing space. And people. People primarily. Little sisters getting ready for their first piano recital. Sister sleepovers. Littlest Pet Shop adventures on the carpet. I was excited that this room was mine, a room for private chats and house-wide giggle fests, hospitality to friends and a place to open up. I wanted to make this space my own – so I could give it away.

It wouldn’t be “home” to me – my special space – unless people were there, unless love was there, unless pictures were on the walls and on the mirror and on my heart. Three-year-old Bailey? It’s your birthday when you share.

I think home is like that – a piece of ourselves. A piece that we cultivate and beautify and cherish. A special space. A place we can go home to. A place in which we can be home. It’s something very precious to us – and something that isn’t complete until we give it all away.

How do you make your space home?

Photos by Bethany


Bailey is a seventeen-year-old homeschooler in love with anything literary or theological. The second oldest of nine children, she finds joy in romping with her younger siblings, scribbling in her ever-expanding notebook and trying her hand at the home arts.

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Keri @Growing in His Glory January 16, 2012

I really enjoyed your post, Bailey. How intuitive and insightful for a seventeen-year-old! I never had sisters to share a room with. I actually only had a brother, and we never shared a room. But I’m now the mother of two little girls with another baby girl on the way, and the idea of them sharing a room is very appealing, for the reasons you mentioned. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It is very inspiring to me!

Bethany January 16, 2012

Neat post. Thanks!

I have often felt like my room was my preparing space for a home some day. Like it’s my little practice space 🙂

Jennifer January 16, 2012

Beautiful post and the photos are so heart warming 🙂

Adele January 16, 2012

This is beautiful, Bailey, and so *you*. A true homemaker makes a home and it is her own, but she makes it for others. You do this so naturally and instinctively. It is wonderful to see. Thanks for sharing.


Cassandra January 16, 2012

I love this. “I wanted to make this space mine so I could give it away.” Wow… profound thoughts for those of us who have expanded from our own ‘room’ to our own ‘house’!!! And I think this is the heart of hospitality, dear Bailey… to have a home, so we can welcome our own family there and also welcome others there. I’m working on it. Hospitality is not my strong point… but I don’t think I’ve figured out WHAT is yet… ha. Your room is beautiful and your family is precious. Those sisters of yours are blessed to have you.
Cassandra @ The Unplugged Family

Kate January 16, 2012

Beautiful post! It makes me think of my 3 year old daughter who currently has to share a bedroom with her 2 brothers (one older, one younger). Before September 2011, she had no space to call her own other than her bottom bunk. The bedroom the 3 children shared was smaller than many modern American closets! I could see her pressing need for her own space as she would crave her time, even at such a young age. She would curl up in the back corner of her bunk, as far into her own space as possible.

I justified that she just needs to learn to share and deal with it, but it kept pricking my heart. The girl needs her own space. Just as mommy needs a moment to breathe and regroup, not for selfish pursuits, but to be a better mommy, so did my little girl. I, too, was surrounded by brothers, sharing a room with them. In fact, I didn’t have my own room until a year before I got married! And now that I’m married, of course I don’t have my own room! I don’t even have my own bed!

A positive pregnancy test for baby #4, urging from the Lord on behalf of my little girl, and no bigger home in the future, I switched my children from the tiny bedroom to the master bedroom. Hubby and I now squeeze into the 7’x9′ bedroom, while my children share the larger one.

Still sharing, I carefully divided up the room using rugs and furniture. Sure, my daughter’s toddler bed heels up to the head of the crib, but using an area rug and the angle of the crib, I carved out her own little “room.” And she has no problem going in there, shutting the door to the bedroom, sitting on her little bed and playing or “reading” all on her own.

Oh, she plays with her brothers. She helps mommy. She snuggles with daddy. She loves to run around outside, etc, but she needs those once in a while down times in her own little space. I love seeing it and eagerly await the day she gets her own room (or shares with her sister should I be pregnant with a girl).

Now, if only I can keep her from trashing her corner of the room on a daily basis! LOL!

Bailey January 18, 2012

This is so precious! I love how tender you are to your daughter’s needs. Good luck with the room cleaning! 😀

Lindsay January 11, 2013

Oh, I love this!!! Thank you for inspiring this 33-year-old mom of five! <3

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