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After a long holiday break, my son left this afternoon to return to college. My daughter is currently with her boyfriend’s family in Manhattan. The Hubster and I are alone in our home for the first time in about six weeks. The Christmas decorations are all stowed away, the leaves have been removed from our dining room table, and all the furniture is back in its usual place. As we looked around our living room, he said to me, “You know, as much as I love having them here, the house seems so much bigger when they’re gone again.”

It’s true. My house is not large to begin with. It’s a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, L-shaped ranch. There is no upstairs and no basement. I don’t have a separate office (my desk is in the corner of my living room) or a sunroom or screened-in patio leading into my backyard. My husband does not have a mancave. When the kids were small, it was the perfect size for our family. Nowadays, though, toss in significant others, significant others’ family members, extended family, and an enormous tree decorated with fragile ornaments, and soon, our “perfect size” is way too small. Dare I say, almost dangerous in its clutter level? If we wait a month, the crowd disappears, and poof! It’s me and him, puttering around all these rooms and realizing how big this house is for just two of us.

I suppose it’s all about perspective. Or, maybe, it’s confirmation of the old adage: It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it.