A quick 1-2 step and then 11 more stairs until I reach the landing (soon to be a library) midway up our staircase. Why am I counting steps? Partly because I’m interested in learning the details of our house, but also because our 100-year old home doesn’t have much electric light, yet (a chandelier or two, sure, but mostly darkness). I sneak downstairs for my i-can’t-sleep-so-i’ll-have-a-midnight-snack treat, and then I hold the rail and (carefully) count my steps back to bed.
So eleven steps to the landing, and then three more to the second floor. Can I share more details? The front door sticks unless you push up and over when you place the lock. Look closely and you’ll see H+C carved into the fireplace, Sharpie hearts penned onto the guest-room wallpaper, and skid marks (little ones running too fast?) etched into the wooden floors.
My new-to-me home surprises and delights me with signs of not just character, but also of life & love, and, if we’re really honest here, reminders of a bustling family a bit too busy with school & soccer & celebration (tape marks on the kitchen ceiling suggest balloons) to deep-clean, repair cracking trim, or fix peeling paint. So what to do? Roll up my sleeves (hubby working alongside me) and get to work.
But Jen- you have a wild-and-active toddler with a deep-love for running and mischievous activity! When is there time for fixing water damage and calking the bathroom sink? Heavens, little man is gonna wake-up and want to play hide-and-seek any minute now. Get your running shoes laced and ready, ’cause the chase begins at 7am and ends (without a medal or any confetti) circa 7pm. The day is long and, okay okay, it’s so very sweet you regularly cry tears of gratitude.
Did that last paragraph hint at the wild ways of my little bean? Well, let me tell you: he’s active and imaginative and every-bit the vivacious and silly little boy I prayed for. He gives kisses and blows raspberries and seems intent on making me laugh each and every hour of the day. He’s my very best bean, and he made my former family of two into an even more happy and whole and tired and loved family of three. It’s been a whirlwind of the very best kind.
Oh gracious, I’m about to tangent again, but I’m typing – fingers flying across the keys – and thinking how much, truly and honestly, I’ve missed filling this space with bits of my everyday. It’s not just the blogging I enjoy, but having a little space to share the frustrations and joys that characterize the early days with my first-and-hopefully-forever-house and my ever-busy-and-exploring toddler. I promise not to stay gone quite so long again.
Back to the house. My new home holds stories and secrets, and the more I look, the more I scrub and paint and get deep down my knees to repair the rim, the more I learn about this colonial gal (should I name her? I’ve been considering it. We name cars, right? Why not homes? ) and the families she loved before mine. I’m falling, not-so-slowly and ever-so-truly, in love with this historic lady. Is it mutual? I sure hope so.
In true falling fashion, this love is tinged with just as much fear about things going awry (already we’ve had an a/c leak which caused water damage on the ceiling) as gratitude for a place to finally call home.
Max turned one shortly after we moved into the house, and his first birthday has me thinking a good bit about where this parent/child relationship is going. I want to raise an honest, hardworking and kind child, of course, but I also want more than that: I want to raise a child who loves coming home.
You know the kid who loves bringing friends over to meet his mom and dad? Who has the courage to move away for college, and study abroad, but always talking about how much he loves his home and family? That’s what I want. I’m still working out ways to do that – to make him happy to be with his family, yet independent enough to strike out on his own – and it’s a goal I’ll be consistently working toward.
If it sounds like I’m writing a whole lot about Max and the process of making a house a home, well, you’re right. And that hints at something else: I’m seeking balance. Renovating a home takes more time than I ever imagined, and yes, I feel the same way about raising a toddler. Combine the two and woah woah woah: what’s happened to my own interests?
To be fair, family is my main interest, and homemaking (ie designing a place when your family makes memories) tops the list as well. That said, I haven’t been to the gym since 2015 (I finally got a gym membership last week), rarely find a moment to touch my camera, and haven’t written here in a couple months.
And so, another goal: find balance with the remainder of 2016. I’m planning to write more and fill my journal and enter downward dog. I want to make homemade sushi, try new photograph techniques, and learn floral design.
Dear readers, I hope you’re soaking up summer and making most of the longer-than-normal days to spend evenings picnicking and biking with your family. I hope you’re getting lost in bits of laughter and staying up late and making memories with your nearest and dearest. I’ll leave you with that.