600 square feet for a family of five doesn't leave much room to breathe, but when it's picked up I really love our little apartment. The close quarters mean I know what everyone is doing, and it pretty much serves our needs: a place to cook, a place to bathe, a place to sleep, a place to watch Firefly.
But when it's messy, I really start cursing the place. The floor will sometimes literally disappear under clothes, toys, papers and books. It becomes possible to walk from one room to the other without stepping on carpet. On it's worst days it feels like our place shrinks by a couple hundred square feet and I start to lose it.
I think Ethan was sensing my frustration the other day. It was definitely not a "picked up" day. I had finally managed to get one corner looking nice, only to turn around and see that the rest of the house had somehow sunk even further into the pits of despair. At that point Ethan got a big smile.
"I really like our house mom".
"Yeah! You and Dad have this big room! And I have this big room!" (He's standing in the middle of the apartment which means he can very easily point into every room without moving). "And Joanna has, um, the same big room as me. And we have this, um, bathroom that's kind of big and...uh...this line...is a kitchen (he stopped using the word big and just noted that we do have a 'kitchen').
He stopped for a moment and he and I just looked at each other. Then he made a last ditch effort to make me love our house again:
"And we can fit a couch AND a tv in our family room!"
At that, of course, I had to smile and give him a big hug. It may be small, and it may usually be messy, but it's home sweet home where my favorite people are, and that makes it a little piece of heaven.