When I was a kid my mother was forever griping about how our house was a mess. The living room was a mess, the dining room was a mess, my bedroom was a disaster and the basement? Well, that was unspeakably messy. She always wanted things to look like they were part of a ‘sample home display’. If I heard her saying “I want a sample home display” once I heard it a thousand times.
That to be frank, isn’t exactly one of my favorite memories of my dear Mom, or even of my childhood home. But the worst part is that even though I know it was annoying, I still see my current home with the same sort of anxiety she seemed to have which leads me to believe that perhaps she picked up her aversion to anything but ‘sample homes’ when she was a child as well. It sort of makes it a little easier to understand where she was coming from but it doesn’t exactly fix things for me. But beyond me, there are other people in my current nuclear family who have been raised with a woman that yearns for a perfect home. ( That would be me.)
All you have to do is ask my kids how many times I’ve changed and rearranged things to try to conform to some ideal in my head that I just can’t get to. I’ve repainted, re-purposed, and repented repeatedly over what I think of as past mistakes. I’ve moved things around just to see if they’d look better in a different spot and generally I’ve moved them straight back to where they originally were, because they didn’t look better in the new spot! My kids think I’m crazy, but so far they say they love me!
I remember one year I asked for a set of tea mugs. I said I wanted them in a hunter green color so that they’d match my kitchen. My oldest daughter handed me a large box on my birthday and I was so excited because I thought it would hold my hunter green tea mugs. Instead there were a bunch of off white bone china mugs. I held them up and said they were beautiful but I wondered about them not being green. My daughter piped up and said it was better to go with the off white because my mugs would last longer than my kitchen color schemes would. Ouch.
Turns out she was right. And that gave me an idea! Rather than come up with my own plans to fix my house I’d invite the entire family to help me. Sure, they weren’t at all thrilled with the idea because to them, home was home and it didn’t need to be tweaked or fixed. But they have to up help because I won’t let up.
The last fix was my living room walls. Years ago I had a floral couch and side chair in a mauve and blue color. Thus my walls were mauve and my carpet was blue. When the furniture gave out I found some new pieces on Craig’s List! But you can’t choose colors when you are buying someone else’s stuff. So my new furniture was more salmon than rose and my new couch was more camel than cream and yet my walls were still mauve! And my carpet was still blue! Whenever I sat in the living room I had to breathe carefully so as not to hyperventilate because I’m that freaked out about things not coordinating!
At Christmas I took a picture of my living room because that was where we put our lovely Christmas tree. And the flash lit up the room exaggerating the color of the pink walls. ZOIKS! That was it! I gathered my family together and I told them we had to fix things or I’d have to move.
My kids decided that the living room should be painted a nice harvest gold color. I winced. Back when I was a kid Harvest gold was everywhere! I think the shag carpet in my 70’s era house was orange and harvest gold! ( No wonder my mother hated my house back then.) Harvest gold wasn’t going to work for me! It was too dated. It only brought back awful memories!
Guess what color my living room is? You know what though? It isn’t as bad as I’d have imagined it would be. I think that is the blessing I get after letting my kids decide what color choices I should go with. I mean it’s really warmer looking and it’s a color I know we all talked about. Now when I look at my walls I think about my family sitting around talking about what colors they’d like to see on them.
Oh, by the way, tomorrow you can get a free can of paint at Ace Hardware! I think I’m going to go get mine! But if you go, maybe you want to take my advice and force your whole family to go along with you!
Have a great weekend!