Dear Young Mother,
I know it's hard to believe this, but once upon a time, I was you. Once upon a time, long before we even used the term minivan, I was a young mother. My life was filled with with dress-up clothes and play dates, crustless sandwiches and sippy cups. I was pretty content with it all, once upon a time.
I was pretty content with the home place back then, too. We had purchased it before the first little one arrived... according to plan... and I had decorated it stem to stern with every piece of '80s oak two childless incomes could afford.
It was pretty grand, in a mauve and blue country kitsch kind of way. Very trendy for the times. Very in.
But trends have a pesky habit of changing. I'm pretty sure it's a conspiracy between the furniture manufacturers and the design magazines, but every decade or so... even faster these days... what was in goes out. '80s oak goes the way of the wood paneled station wagon. The cool table is made of cherry, and mauve and blue head to the yard sale to make way for jewel tones.
Trust me, it happens.
Suddenly, your perfect little well- appointed fairy tale house isn't so well appointed any more. It's what we women like to call dated. For me, it was a major source of discontent. I wasn't alone, either. Pretty much on a regular basis, play dates turned into gripe sessions as my fellow mommies brainstormed ways to squeeze new furniture into the single-income-with-kids budget plan.
It was during one such gripe session that the pity party took a walk down memory lane. It all started when one griper began to wax poetic about the beautiful living room in the home where she grew up. She remembered every detail, right down to the print of the sofa.
And that's when I started thinking.
'Cause even back then, I was always thinking...
For the life of me, I couldn't remember what the sofa in our living room looked like when I was a little girl. I have a pretty fantastic memory, too (at least I did back then), but for the life of me, I couldn't remember that sofa. In fact, I couldn't remember much about the whole living room. Aside from the fact that the long white drapes made for wonderful hide-n-seek, and the pine floor was great for sock sliding, my mind was blank.
I'll tell you what I did remember, though. I did have a vivid memory of all the adventures we had in that place. As the other woman wokked on about her house, my mind wandered to our home. I remembered the picnics and day trips to Umpachene falls. I remembered the weekend trips to Fort Ticonderoga and Story Town, USA. I remembered the cross country adventures to Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Missouri and Lincoln's New Salem in Illinois. Pretty grand adventures for a single income family of six.
I'm pretty sure I know where Mom squeezed out the money for those adventures, too. I'm pretty sure they came at the cost of new furniture and accessories for her home.
That's the way it appears, anyway, because when I called her to ask about the sofa that we had when I was five, she laughed and told me that it was the same one we had when I went off to college. Apparently, it was entirely possible to have a blissfully happy childhood in house with dated furniture. Who knew?
I made a decision that day. That day, I decided to get off the trendy tree house merry-go-round and spend my limited time and money on the stuff my girls would remember when they were thirty. So what if my living room decor completely missed the Tuscan craze. I promise, I don't regret it. Had I missed the adventures, though? That I would regret.
Because now that the dated nest is empty, I have plenty of time on my hands to redecorate our house, but I will never, ever have the time to re-create our home.
So there you have it.
The reason I blame my mother for my dated furniture.
And the reason that I thank her for everything else.
And today, because it's Mothers Day (and maybe just because)
I will take the time to tell her so.
Happy Mothers Day
to The Duchess...
the woman who wrote the book on family adventure
and taught me that the lively art of homemaking
doesn't really have anything to do with furniture at all.
Comments are off
(But I'll bet you can relate...)