Waking up, freshly showered, and all is quiet. My kids are still dozing on their little cots as I sit at the end of my blow up mattress. They are in a safe place with me. We are in a safe place in our shabby concrete floored studio. It has old appliances, no couch, a dingy shower, and a loud microwave. They both often comment to me and say, “I really love it here.” It’s kind of like camping, without the bugs and tent set up. It’s easy, it’s ours.
In describing the place, the space, I’m overlooking my role in being here with them. Yes, I am their father and yes, there are still rules, yet despite all of my parenting responses to them, they still feel safe, loved, and welcome. Maybe the space, despite it’s lack of a Nintendo Switch, board games, Lego, or abundance of food is safe, because I am here.
I like to think that I have a part in the safe space dynamic. It’s a choice I make partially because I desire safe, silly, warm, and loving spaces AND because I want others, especially my kids, to experience a place where they can be themselves.
I’m guessing that many people seek out remote locations in nature just for this reason – a place to feel safe and be themself. Sometimes alone, maybe with a trusted friend or partner, but it’s the combination of “away” and with someone trusted that makes the space safe. With low trust of other humans, I can imagine solo experiences (with a pup maybe) is a cathartic thing. Heck, I desire solo trips, sans pup, to just be with me.