Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Our House

In the Middle Of Our Street. Our House...


I am knee deep in home improvement. Husband and I are not exactly what you call "do-it-yourselfers", but since we can only afford to pay someone to do the stuff that requires real skill, the scut work falls to us. Yesterday I stripped wallpaper and pried 147 glow in the dark stars off the ceiling. Today I am cleaning and sanding woodwork.

Pre-Pubescent one is embarassed by the teddy bears and fire trucks that grace his walls, and who can blame him? He's nearly 12 and stuff like that is becoming really important. I've noticed he only invites only a select few long time friends up to his room anymore, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why.

I remember that age well. I grew up in a beautiful turn of the century craftsman style home that my parents still own. They bought it in a pretty sorry state, seeing it for the diamond in the rought that it truly is. But they often struggled just to put food on the table, and for many years, the house remained run down. My Mom did her best to spruce it up with paint and fabric...she was a whiz with a sewing machine...but those things couldn't disguise yellowed linoleum, or ancient fixtures, or cracked and crumbling plaster.

I was embarassed to bring friends home. And I felt guilty for being embarassed. Because my parents worked so hard and they did so many other things to make us happy. There were times that they made the impossible possible by doing without things that they needed. And we knew that, though they tried to keep it from us. But still, I was embarassed. I never, ever told my parents that, but I'm sure they knew. And years later, I found out that it always bothered my Mom that we didn't have the kind of home where our friends gathered. She really wanted that for us.

But we didn't have a large house. We didn't have cable, and in my teen years that meant no MTV. We didn't have Atari or Colecovision. We didn't have a constant supply of snacks and soft drinks on hand. My sisters and I shared a room and so, we didn't have much privacy. My mom always hoped to finish the basement and use it as a hang-out, but it never happened.

We tended to congregate at homes that had all those things.

My Mom understood why we never invited anyone over, but there wasn't much she could do about it. So she did her best to make the big shabby house cozy and inviting for us, and it was. We always had fresh sun dried sheets on our beds, and cheery lace curtains on the windows. One year she made my sisters and I matching floral quilts from bedsheets. She hung beautiful botanicals that she had cross-stitched herself on the walls, and made pretty fabric photo frames from scraps and remnants. I loved our house, even with all it's faults. It had warmth, and character. I was happy there.

Now, as an adult, I loathe the bland, unappealing little crackerboxes that stand in rows wearing their uniforms like little soldiers. It's ironic, then, that I live in one.

We don't have a big, fancy house. Like my parents, we bought an older home (20 years old...around here, that's ancient) in need of work to keep our costs down and allow me to stay home. It is slowly, slowly coming along. But because so many large issues needed addressing (roof, siding, new heating/ac) not much cosmetic work has been done.

Still, it's much, much nicer than the home I grew up in. And while part of me would love to have a sumptuously decorated home, I don't want my kids growing up thinking that's important or necessary. We're trying very hard to instill proper values in our kids and part of that is not living beyond our means as so many these days are.

But.

I do want my kids to feel comfortable bringing friends over and I don't want them to be embarassed. And so far, teddy bears and firetrucks notwhitstanding, we're doing okay in that regard. I usually have at least one extra child in my house at any given time, and often, there is a large group of boys hanging around. Yes, it gets loud and chaotic, and sometimes, I want to chase them all out and just have some peace and quiet. But mostly, I'm glad they wanna hang out here. I wanna keep them hanging out here. And short of providing a keg and strippers, I'm willing to do what it takes to accomplish that.

You see...a Mom hears stuff, if she pays attention, when kids hang out at her house. It's amazing what kids will talk about when they forget that you're right there. And it's good to be in the loop.

So, goodbye teddy bears and firetrucks. It seems like just yesterday that I hung the border with such care over painstakingly sponge painted walls. I was heavily pregnant with Diminutive One, and I was weepy over the fact that Pre-Pubescent One was losing everything; his Mommy, his room, his way of life. I decorated that room to assuage the guilt I felt over kicking him out of the nursery. He was three years old, and that's old enough to understand being usurped. It ate me up.

Like the teddy bears and firetrucks, the new room represents a life change. In that room my son has grown from a toddler to a little boy. And in that room, he is growing from a little boy into a young man. I think this will probably be the last time I redecorate this room for him. 8 years ago I hung teddy bear wallpaper, but I don't have 8 more years this time. I have 6. He will go off to college, and for a while, the rooom will stay the same. Because he'll come home on weekends, right? But then, as I begin to accept that my little boy is not coming home to that room ever again, it, and life with it, will change once again.

Maybe I'll get some bunkbeds for the grandchilren.

...I remember way back then
when everything was true and when
we would have such a very good time,
such a fine time, such a happy time.

And I remember how we'd play,
simply waste the day away,
then we'd say nothing would come between us
two dreamers....

Something tells you that you've got to move away from it.

6 Comments:

  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    What a great post! As someone who also grew up in a less-than-fancy home, I could completely relate to this. (At my childhood home, you could see your breath in the upstairs bedrooms on cold winter mornings. There would also be frost on the walls!)

    I also liked how you turned the focus onto family; that's what really makes a house a home anyway. :)

     
  • At 1:59 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    My house growing up was never the hang-out either. My mom was too strict to let us have enough fun to make it worth it. When we bought this house the first thing my husband and I thought was that it was the perfect home to have our daughter and her friends (when she's older) congregate at. And more importantly I'll be the mom in the loop!

     
  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    Sweet sweet post. A glimpse into my future.

     
  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger c2s Hayley said…

    I so, so want my children to have the house that other kids want to come to, whether it's pretty or not!

    Gorgeous post! *sniffles*

     
  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    I grew up in a house too small for friends, not always with enough to share for dinner. I think in high school my friends came over, because my oldest friends have memories of my parents - so they must have, right? I live in a house much bigger than where I grew up, but it's not as big and fancy with the bells and whistles of many of the homes of my kids' friends. We are also in a neighborhood with fewer kids, so they tend now to congregate in a place most can get to on foot. I'm doing my best, as are you.

     
  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    I grew up in a house that wasn't fancy or big and we couldn't have friends over either. I so get every word of this one. Lovely post.

     

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