I’ve been a hygge lover since I was a child – quite a small one actually.
I can nearly see it. See me. Round feet pattering, small hands, (just like mine now – only not…), stuffing the bear family into their tea table chairs. Taking a few fussy minutes adjusting Brother Bear’s shoulders, attempting to correct his questionable posture.
Making teatime. Making cozy.
Pushing the table a foot that way, back again. Four china rose patterned tea cups, (three with saucers, one chipped), three cast off teaspoons, a melamine Betty Boop mug, and a cracked brown teapot; one long glue seam holding it together gleaming shiny and dark. Taking even turns, inviting other members of Lisa’s Playroom alongside the bear family, (a-listers that lot). Making up a parties of nine or ten though I had but two chairs. And wasn’t it funny how – after only a few moments – the toy chest and two red plastic milk crates matched my smooth oak tea-table’s captain chairs just right?
It was the magic of hygge. I knew that even then. Though I’d not yet heard the word, (and wouldn’t for many years), I recognized the sentiment. Clinging innately to the snug feeling of enveloping acceptance, recognition, and warmth; dancing alongside thin streams of cool freedom.
(It was those cool streams you see – which allowed me to imagine. To rise up, and continue on. Certainly I never forgot the anger edged, cold uncertainty lurking just outside my door. There was no forgetting that. But within my hygge home all was calm comfort. The mean words, the sadness, the sidelong glances and slapping, smacking hands were never allowed in.
No – not one bit of them.
Not one little speck.)
I made hyggeligt on my own. Quiet in the basement playroom among glass-eyed friends who never blinked, (well, aside from the baby dolls when I put them down for their naps after their bath and prayers.) Friends who only ever just smiled and laughed; sipping their tea. Nibbling down their peanut butter and plum jam sandwiches, (smushed-cut with a butter knife into crumple edged, uneven quarters. Crusts peeled off and surreptitiously fed to an appreciative Pekingese called Sam.) Steaming water from the laundry room faucet rushing out, rolling into my brown teapot, and brewing into Earl Grey. While my friends and I swirled our small cups critically, squinting down at the tea leaves – foreseeing our futures. (And always we spun them higher, fashioned of fine gossamer threads; the right and proper way to build castles in the sky.)
Sitting long at our homily table. Till the sun had well set and the adults upstairs, (much too busy to hygge – poor things), had gone off to bed. Whisper talking deep into the night till the stars arrived, shining almost too bright in the dark, not quite country sky which Brother Bear, (being the most adventurous), and I could see just fine from our skying spot. Stretched out comfy, folded hands behind our heads; our top halves cushioned by grandma’s oval rag rug, (quick crocheted by her soft hands), bottom halves with ankles crossed on the icy slick concrete floor. Crooking our heads just so we gazed through the high basement window into the night – and out. Gulping down long hours. Tumbling over one another as we fell, head over paw over heel, in and away. Sometimes waiting so long to blink it seemed our eyes had transformed. Had become so wide and deep we’d never again need to beg a glimpse through Uncle Bert’s homemade telescope. We could see just that far.