I highly anticipated my first house, which we purchased two years ago. It might not be a “dream home” that would be on any Rich and Famous list or HGTV show but it fulfilled a dream that had been sprouting in my apartment-dweller mind for years.
What did a house mean to me? No more shared walls or landlords. A big, nice kitchen Meghan could cook in. (I’m not being sexist, Meghan loves to prep and cook food, so I knew this would make her happy.) A yard to move around and throw balls in. A garden to plant a food. And a room, a glorious room dedicated to me and my stuff-with sports paraphernalia, comfy seating and a big, flat screen to watch games and shows on! My Man Cave!
My man cave is perfectly located in our newly-carpeted basement and with boxcar, wood-paneled walls to boot! For my California friends and family, a “basement” is essentially the same size of your house, but mirrored underground. It’s where we Midwesterners keep our laundry, storage, and us men.
It quickly became evident that my tastes-artwork, lamps, furniture-were relegated to the basement. I’d hold up a great find from a store to show my wife. “Babe, wouldn’t this look great for the house?” Meghan replies, “Uh huh…it will look nice…in the basement.” My entire apartment before I moved in with Meghan is now replicated downstairs.
And I had my Mantuary (new word I think I just invented, man cave/sanctuary) set up…for a few days…before my bunker was invaded…by toys…lots and lots of toys of all sizes…they multiplied like insects, little plastic insects that spread all around the floor, the coffee table, and in-between seat cushions. Toys that when bumped often start a digital nursery rhyme or giggling voice…that will send a shiver up your spine when it’s after midnight and you stub your toe stumbling and shuffling your way through the room.
And with addition of a train set and little picnic table, my man cave is fast-becoming a “kid cave.”
And so, like anything in life once a kid enters the picture, your dreams get amended by reality. The baby that was going to be sleeping in his crib by 6 months is at 11 months, still in your bed sticking his foot in your ribs at 2:15am. Your vow that your child will not be plopped in front a television screen, is sitting on your lap gazing at the baby channel, both of you exhausted from exploring toy after toy on the floor. And your plastic, colorful toys dot your man cave. So it goes.
But, it’s okay, because if a man cave is a really just a room with a collection of what I look forward to spending time with,my wife laying her head on my shoulder and my son tucked snugly into my side, feels like a great use of the space.
Feels nice to be caved in.