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I am old soul who covers the grey really well. I love to be active and creative. I am blogging to help keep the memories alive and to keep those special moments around.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mi casa es su casa but it is ultimately our casa

I remember setting up the nursery for my first born. It was an interesting time in my household. We had just purchased a small cape cod with an unfinished second 1/2 level. It had so much potential but we had so little time. The kitchen was small but with its Pepto Bismo pink walls, it too needed to be redone. The other problem was where to put the baby?

Yes, we had spent whole weekends at Home Depot. We had the kitchen picked out and it just needed to be done. But where do we put the baby? I had visions of the perfect nursery swimming in my head. This led to many heated discussions between my husband and myself. Which one needed to be done first. O.k. you guessed it, I won!

The nursery was done first on the second story. My dad came down for the weekend and they installed the walls. My sister came and painted kites and suns on the walls. It was a dream. I would spend hours in there before my baby came. I would fold and refold the clothes. I would arrange the baby's things around the room. I would rock in the rocker and gaze at the perfection. And then the baby came.

The nursery was still perfect but now there was a small human occupying the space. This made the nursery perfect in its own way but that small human came with all of her own baggage and stuff. She quickly added her own touches to the room and yes, I do mean spit up. Yet it was just a room. A room that I now walked through to peer into the crib to see a new perfection, my baby.

I often said in the early years and the toddler years that our house was decorated in early Fisher Price. The kids stuff took over whole rooms. We had a modern white chair that we searched days for in the family room next to a child's pink plastic kitchen. This play kitchen had a sink overflowing with not just dishes but dolls, building blocks and anything else my toddlers thought needed to be washed. So this was my new house and it was no longer perfection but my kids were happy and perfect in my eyes.

Fast forward to now and my current house is not close to perfect either. My beautiful nursery was sold with the old house. My kids each have their own room decorated in their own styles. My furniture is older but still usable. My house is perfect in my eyes because it is filled with love and kids. I do however still have an ideal about how it should look. I like clean.

Living with pre-teens makes clean an interesting phenomenon. I want spotless, shiny and organized. My kids want their stuff around them. Who wins? Well that depends on the hour, the day, the minute or the second. This battle heightens in the summer when my kids are around more often and so is their stuff. It creeps out of their rooms and a little bit of it is left in each room by the end of the day.

My daughter's lap top is on one couch and her Ipod is on the other. Her phone is plugged in on the kitchen counter in the area where I cook! There are about 10 other plugs in the house and even 3 more in her room that she could have used! My son's baseball equipment is dropped piece by piece around the house as he works his way to my room to watch t.v. (I do not sleep with a baseball bat for protection) The remnants of his meals are left where they were ingested and most often in my bed too. (This is where t.v. #2 is located) Yes, my day consists of going room to room and tidying up.

Why am I not having them clean? The answer is I do. I have to the realization though that this is not their house in the sense they own it. This is their house in the sense that they live in it. They do not look around and see a house that should be on a magazine cover (not House Beautiful but maybe House Lovable). They see a house that provides big, comfy couches on which to hang out. They see a sunny spot near the back sliding door to practice violin and guitar.

They do not see a mess but rather a convenient place where they left their things. I have not given up on tidiness. I will not give up on clean. I will remind them that their stuff in my house needs to be put away. I will remind them that even though it is my house is our home and to have some pride in it by putting stuff away when it is done. I will continue this back and forth battle because even though that clean, pristine nursery was great to sit in, it was empty. Now I have kids and laughter and noise and love and with that comes mess in our house.

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