We have a relatively small house. Three bedrooms, one bathroom on the second floor, living room that flows into the dining room that flows into kitchen.
In our house, I can always hear where Charlie is. The hardwood floors echo back his every hum and syllable. From my desk (set up in an alcove of our totally lived-in living room) I can look out the front window to see when the yellow school bus arrives with Charlie (who had a good, with the occasional frustrating moment here and there, Monday).
When we first looked at our house back in November of 2002, Jim immediately noted the way the living and dining rooms and kitchen all flow into one L, a straightaway Jim figured Charlie could run. And run indeed, Charlie did, though these days it takes him about 3 seconds or less to run the 'circuit.' After all, he probably clears the living room in 3 or fewer strides.
The L layout as running space would never have occurred to me as it did, automatically, to Jim. The older Charlie gets, the more I see affinities between him and Jim (who notes the same too, as in a recent post on his Irish Waterfront blog). Charlie does need to roam and walkabout, hence the numerous rides we take around New Jersey in the white car and our walks on local streets. And, of course, Jim's and Charlie's regular bike rides.
Jim is more inclined to worry than I that perhaps our house is too small now for Charlie, so much bigger, and more powerful, than when we first moved in and he was in elementary school. Truly, the house, while bearing multiple signs of intense everyday use, hasn't grown with Charlie. But we have made more and more use of the space around us, and I don't just mean our back yard (which Charlie never took to) and front yard (which Charlie does like to pace in); I mean the neighborhood streets we walk and ride on, the nearby fields for soccer and lacrosse.
Sometimes I think the whole neighborhood has become, a bit, our back yard, all good roaming space for a boy who likes (needs) to be out under sky, just as he can be at the beach in the off season. While I don't think it would solve Charlie's every issue to live at the beach, I can see how it would be lovely to live soclose to all that sand and the waves. What better place to go for a de-stressing run when the going farther inland gets too rought?
As Jim and I joke, or sigh, to each other, if we were ever to move to another house in our town, the chance that Charlie would betake himself to his old doorstep, and try to get into his old room, is very high. Our boy knows his way back home.