My guest room in my own house doesn't really belong to me.
My niece Devon considers it her room. When she spends the night at my house, that's where she stays.
She tells me she would like pictures of dogs hung on the walls so she can see them from her bed.
She requests that I have her Paris glass filled with water on the table beside her bed in case she needs a drink in the middle of the night.
She rearranges all the pillows in the room so her favorite with the vintage cat and dog is front and center on the rocker.
And most of all, she does not like me to use my own guest closet for storage of any kind.
I was downstairs when I heard her yelling and ran to see what the commotion was all about. "WHAT is this big suitcase doing in MY closet?"
She was trying to move it, but it was too bulky for her to budge. She said there wasn’t enough room for her to unpack all of her stuffed dogs (about 27 of them that she brought over in two shopping bags) because I had put a suitcase in HER closet.
During the school year, Devon made a poster about herself to share with her class.
She said her favorite place was her aunt's house.
When I asked her why, she said it's because she has her own room (although she has her own room at home), she has her own TV in her room, and she can eat chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
I suspect it’s mostly about the pancakes, though.
I always had my own room growing up. My sister and I never had to share.
I liked it that way. My room was my haven.
My mother could never send me to my room as a punishment since that was where I liked to spend most of my time.
I had shelves full of books and a radio tuned to every Pirates baseball game or sports talk show in Pittsburgh.
But my sister always wanted to share a room with me. When she was little, she would sneak into my room during the night with her pillow and blanket and sleep on the floor next to my bed just to be with me.
In the morning I would practically fall over her and complain to my mother that she was invading my privacy. My mother would tell me I wasn't being a very kind older sister.
I still love having my own room.
All to myself. And it's awfully nice.
One of the perks of being single is not having to share. And that includes the closets.
No clunky athletic shoes compete for space among my strappy high heels.
The shelves hold a collection of purses for every season.
The clothes I leave in disarray on the closet floor are all mine.
I have stacks of books on the table beside my bed and another stack on the floor under the table.
My room is all shades of dreamy pink, creamy vanilla and shimmery gold.
Pictures of roses and silhouettes of vintage girls adorn my walls.
The longer I live, the harder it is to imagine sharing any of my space. Especially any of my closet space.
Unless I'm forced to by Devon.
I cleared half of the closet so she has room for her stuffed animals and the doll-sized table and chairs they sit at.
Until I can find some dog pictures, she'll have to look at pictures of vintage paper dolls and ballerinas on the walls. Her books are stacked on the table.
There's Angelina Ballerina, Angelina Ice Skates, Little House books for young readers and a book about a dog who visits Paris. In the closet are the Nancy Drew books I read as a child.
She knows they'll be hers as soon as she's old enough to read them.
And since they practically belong to her, those are the only things of mine that she allows me to store in my guest room closet.
Or maybe it's her closet.
Depends on who you ask.
Me or Devon.