or ten. Hell, even a once over with a soapy rag from top to bottom would help! But alas, all the living we have done, and continue to do in this house-- the very living that has made this place the mess it is today, keeps getting in the way of the "freshening". Well, the living and my reluctance to change some things.
I have two main reasons for not wanting to update my house. You can decide if they are good reasons.
My first reason to delay home improvement is that "the kids are just going to mess it up again anyway." Can you hear my dramatically put-out tone of voice when you read this? I try to convince myself this is the practical voice in my head, helping me to wait until I will get more bang for my renovation buck. In reality, it is probably the lazy-ass voice in my head, which knows from experience how much more fun it is to wield a crochet hook than a paint roller.
My second reason for delaying home improvement is that I'm not sure I want to cover up some of the "memories" my kids have have left behind. Yes, my carpet and walls looks like something straight out an episode of CSI, but many of the stains and scuffs remind me of things that have taken place in our home over the past four years, and I kind of like that. I like being taken back, if only for a moment, to a time when Princess and Birdie were younger. They have lived half their lives here and I like being reminded of that!
- So I don't much mind the bloodstain behind the couch, where Princess's knee bled on the carpet. She didn't notice it bleeding because she was too busy laughing and playing Hide-N-Seek with me. She was four and was finally starting to like our new house.
- I am okay with all the greasy little spots on Princess and Birdie's bedroom walls, where endless amounts of self-made art has been hung and rehung using poster putty. It helps me remember the "Paper Princess" that P made in 1st grade. Paper Princess sat in P's desk on Parent Night so that I would know which desk was hers. The spots also help me remember the paper Chinese lantern that Birdie used to have hanging by her light switch "so that guests would know where to turn on her bedroom light".
- Even though it's a little gross, I get teary-eyed sometimes when I look at the streaks running up my stairwell walls-- you know, the ones made by kids dragging their hand up the wall as they climb up and down. It saddens me that the newer streaks are a full six inches higher up than the oldest ones. I also think about the time Princess played with chalk on our front stoop and then smeared blue and purple streaks all the way up to her room afterward. It made me angry at the time, but now I'm a little glad that I was unable to wash it all off.
- The dimple in the wall behind our front door always makes me recall the first time Birdie got invited by one of the neighbors to come out and play. She was so excited that she swung the door back hard enough to bend the doorstop and hit the wall with the doorknob.
- The purple glittery stain in Princess's carpet was from the time that she and Birdie decided to grind up all of her play make-up to make fairy dust. Unfortunately, it only left a stain-- both girls were very disappointed that it did not make them fly.
- I laugh every time I see the little bits of green silly putty that are now forever a part of my living room carpet. The girls rolled the putty into tiny little "grass seeds" and then planted them in our living room. (Luckily, I was able to cover most of the "grass" with the couch.)
I am sure there are bazillions of other "memories" lurking in my carpet and on my walls, but you see what I mean. This house, as it is, is like a scrapbook in which we live. If I change the paint and the carpet, am I going to forget some of these things? When we replaced our old couch-- the couch on which I nursed the girls as infants, read to them every night as toddlers, and taught them to read as Kindergartners-- I didn't forget the memories associated with it. Yet, right now, I feel a need dawdle and look at these reminders of our life a few more times before I let them go the way of the couch. I think I feel my "little girls" turning into "big girls" faster than I would like.
In the not-so-distant future, when my friend is sitting in her "less new" house, with her then older little boy, she will realize that she is surrounded by "memories", too. I wonder if, like me, she will feel the need to keep the "memories" in the house, so that she can hold her memories closer to her heart.