Before my husband and I got married I lived in a small two bedroom, one bath apartment right in the middle of town. It had pink wallpaper in the kitchen, old carpet throughout, dated cabinets and a really weird shower. Not to mention the lack of guest parking and the world’s most obnoxious upstairs neighbors. Why someone needs to vacuum their floors at 2:00 am every Wednesday still baffles me. There was so little storage in the apartment that I had to keep some of my things in my son’s closet and the rest was left at my mother’s house thirty minutes away.
Sounds horrible, right? I thought so. Until a couple of days ago. While conversing with my seven year old about his Christmas gifts, he randomly changed the subject and said “I miss your old apartment.” I was stunned by the comment. Why in the world did my kid miss that place? He barely had any room to play with his toys, it had a strange smell, and again…that pink wallpaper…ugh. I apprehensively asked him why. His response has officially changed my life forever.
“I loved that place. We played Alien Hunting in the yard. And we filmed three episodes of Noah’s News. And we drew a giant racetrack in the driveway and played all day out there. And we made our own artwork for the walls. And you cooked the best food there.”
Hearing this almost made my brain explode. I had to take a minute before I could respond. All my life, I’ve dreamed of the perfect home with the perfect floor plan. The nicest furniture and freshly painted white walls. A chef’s kitchen and top-of-the-line appliances. I assured myself that when we own a home, it would be magazine quality and I would throw classy dinner parties there. And in the blink of an eye, my whole outlook changed. This sweet little boy with the most innocent heart reminded me what home really is. It’s not about making it look like a museum of untouchable objects. It’s about a place to make memories. He loved that apartment because we had fun there. He didn’t care about the neighbors. He didn’t care about the wallpaper. He didn’t care about design or style or any of that stuff. The only thing that mattered to him was the people inside and the time we spent together.
As we approach the New Year, I’m sure you have big plans for renovations or redesigns of your home in 2015. Or maybe you’re planning on purchasing a new house. I urge you to keep in mind the wise words of a first grader and try not to get caught up in the details. Having a nice and orderly home is great, but every once in a while get a little messy, break the rules, and have a little fun. After all, that’s what home is all about.
Have you recently had a home design revelation? I’d love to hear what fuels you to keep your home family friendly instead of photo-shoot ready. Share your thoughts and stories below.