Thursday, July 31, 2008

It Takes A Village

I have always wanted A Pottery Barn Home.

Even before I was able to label it, I knew what kind of feel, what kind of fabric, what kind of scent I wanted out of an abode.

I used to keep a notebook of pictures from various Pottery Barn magazines. I had different couch choices and oh-so-many bathrooms picked out. I really love a beautiful bathroom.

The folks at the Pottery Barn company don't feel that they should send me their magazine. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is because I don't end up purchasing things from them. This isn't because they aren't good enough or pretty enough. No, indeed not. They are perfection and will remain to be so until the end of time.

I just don't always (ever) have the funding to make those lovely bathrooms that I have designed in my head.

I attempted the next best thing by just looking at the merchandise. So I signed up for the 'free' service, got a few catalogs, and always looked forward to the day when the mailbox would yield the colorful pamphlet of delight. But no matter how many times I sign up, they stop coming. Perhaps it is because I never purchase anything?

Or maybe someone tipped off the Pottery Barn team that some lady was cutting out pictures from their circular and then pasting them on picture frames and cards. Hey, everyone has to have a hobby. You would be surprised at the number of things you can decoupage into a lovely greeting card.

So I've had this idea forming somewhere deep within the recesses of my brain.

I WOULD have A Pottery Barn House. I would. Yes, I would.

One time Austin laughingly told me that I would never have A Pottery Barn House. Feeling ever so indignant and full of righteous anger, I told him that indeed I would have My Pottery Barn House, but perhaps he wouldn't be there to enjoy it with me.

Now he tells me that I can have that beautiful home with the exquisite (four) bathrooms but I'll have to find a way to pay for it.

Well, we bought a house right after we got married. We moved in, totally excited about decorating and making it feel like it was 'us'. Trouble was, we (oops) brought back a honeymoon souvenir that demanded all our extra money. Moira's room was the only one that was ever decorated. In fact, she was lucky enough to have Pottery Barn crib bedding, thanks to the lovely friends in Phoenix. Aside from her sweet, banana pudding colored room, you would have thought you stood inside a deserted home.

Through circumstances of life, we had to sell the house. Mostly we lived with my parents, except for a few wretched months when we lived in someone's spare bedroom. All the while, I was painting rooms in my head. I was organizing the furniture in my notebook rooms, looking for the perfect flow and color combinations. It kept my mind off the wall colors I couldn't control and the wedding gifts I had to sell to pay for hospital bills.

In November of last year, we found a home that we could afford. We were ecstatic, incredulous, grateful, giddy, and impatient. We couldn't wait to finally have our own place, a place where we could now reciprocate all the late night movie watchings and impromptu dinners our friends had lavished on us.

After we moved all our lovely things into our lovely house, we began to survey the damage of four years of...um...not having lots of money. We had sold pots, couches, forks, clothes, and anything else that kept us momentarily afloat. Thus, we came into our new space with...very, very little.

We told our friends and co-workers that if they had any extra furniture, we would be much obliged to store it for them. Luckily for us, we have a really great network of very giving people. Soon we had offers of couches, of bookshelves, of Christmas ornaments and more.

We arranged and pieced together as best as we could and waited for the breathtaking moment when it would all click in to place.

We moved and feng shuied a bit more, still waiting for The Moment.

Alas, The Moment never came.

But Christmas did, and then out of town guests and then the big and terrible Tennessee blizzards and Valentine's Day, my Lovely Trip To Europe, Sabra's birthday, Moira's birthday...Easter....do you see what happened?

Time just flew by while we lounged in our luxurious ability to walk around the house stark naked and not bother with lowering our voices if we needed to argue. Ahh...it really is the simple things in life.

It wasn't until last month that I began to notice that we still had not a single picture on the walls; my bedroom closet was still holding boxes of random papers and baby clothes, and I had not the slightest idea where my picture albums were.

In somewhat of a crazed fury similar to that of 'nesting', I began viciously attacking the boxes (and dust bunnies) that lined our walls. I felt that it was necessity to move a dresser downstairs by myself, which resulted in a better furniture arrangement as well as a small but charming hole in the wall at the top of the stairs.

For our anniversary, Austin bought me a small army of picture frames that I put to immediate good use. I even keep a small pad of paper on my fridge that holds my ideas about future projects. I'm terribly excited about the distressing of the dresser that put a hole in my wall. I'm going to paint it red, and I think it will be quite fetching.

The interesting thing was that as I began to really 'own' the home, I became even more proud of it. Before this summer, I was so excited to have a home. My kids finally had a room with the coveted pink walls, and I had my very own Bathtub of Happiness. But now....now I have put my effort into the walls and scrubbed some dignity, if you will excuse the cheesiness, into the floors. It is my space, and it really does feel like home.

And the strange thing is....it does not even begin to resemble A Pottery Barn House. We have all manner of colors and styles all mixed in together, creating the eclectic and laid back manner that reflects our personalities. lt doesn't all match, but for some reason, that actually feels good. Each piece is from someone who loves us and is generous beyond compare.

After the kids are asleep, I clean up the kitchen or sit on the couch with a book. If I'm feeling indulgent, I put 962 gallons of scalding water into my tub and sink down so low that only my eyeballs stick out. Wherever I am or whatever I am doing, I have only to open my eyes to see that we are loved.

A friend just gave my girls what is arguably the Coolest Bed Ever Made. As she (and a small army of workers) put the CBEM together, I jokingly told her that my house is from the catalog of 'It Takes A Village'. As I am less loquacious in person than on paper, it might not have made sense at the time. (Side note: please don't be afraid of me if ever we meet; I'm not insane, just not verbally communicative in a way that can be appreciated. Unless you have been to Rose Pepper Cantina, and then I'm quite the riot.)

Anyways, what I meant to tell this lovely friend was that my home was like the child in that saying, "It takes a village to raise a child".

Without the help of grandparents and teachers and pastors and doctors and RECEPTIONISTS, we wouldn't be able to raise our children. We need the help and guidance of others, and mostly....we need the free baby-sitting.

Without the help of friends, friends, friends, more friends, family, and more family and co-workers beyond count, I wouldn't have my home. I would have a house, but it would be far from the home that I am trying so hard to make it become.

And until the lovely day when I have a shower with a sit down seat (for safety purposes, of course) and sixteen nozzles and a sunken bathtub with jets so powerful it threatens to break my back, I am very, very happy with the place I call home.

1 comment:

Jack said...

fascinating. i should think that much will be the same when i raise my children.