My daughter told me this week after an argument, “And then I went upstairs and I was happy ‘cause I went to my world.” The world in her mind, she went on to explain, where she sometimes goes while we’re talking. Her world is full of Laffy Taffy and silly one-eyed monsters made of rubber or felt. Her world runs rampant with hugs and sweets and blue skies, and lately, a full moon. All the time.
She reminded me of myself as a child, and the happy place I built up inside: A spherical room with white carpets and giant fluffy throw-pillows everywhere, a sweet spot for lying back and reading. For writing maybe, if I was inclined. Body-sized pillows everywhere. Round. Books. One perfect lamp. Simple. Mine.
We’re moving houses next month. I may have mentioned it before. I’m sort of obsessed. And I realize suddenly why I can’t stand moving. While growing up, my happy place was an invented imaginary land inside my own mind, private, subject only to my whims, and it has become now over time my own house. Which is lovely. Very mature, based in the real world. Makes me feel special, like a grown-up, a real one, like I’ve finally arrived and become whole.
Until it comes time to move again.
And we embark – jointly – on complete decimation of my happy place, as our living room fills with boxes – old photos and toys, journals I may refer to when I write the Great American Novel in retirement (twenty years from now), summer shorts, books, an iron, band-aids, more books… My living room is Box Heaven.
We’ve sold the couch and moved the coffee table. The dogs whine. The cats both leap for the highest tower, settling themselves into a freshly-made box indentation to purr and primp. I’m tempted to throw a blanket up there. Someone should be cozy for the next 17 days, right?
So now I need temporary housing for my Happy, and maybe, too, a sweet spot for the dogs.
“I have something to calm you down,” my little girl says. She begins playing soft music on her Peruvian pipes. She’s right. It helps.
Where is your happy place?