There is an odd dynamic in the family. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say I had been telling Paul for months, or perhaps even years, that we needed an updated light fixture above our kitchen table. There would be the standard response, “Well, this one works just fine.“ Or perhaps, “Sure, sure, we can look into that later.“
Then let’s say Paul’s brother, Edward, comes to visit us from California, and he mentions to Paul in passing, “You good with that light fixture?“ Suddenly Paul becomes keenly aware that the light is a throwback to the 70s, and immediately, he’s ready to go looking for a new one. (A more true than hypothetical situation by the way.)
This past year, Edward may have mentioned that our “guest seating” is less than supremely comfortable. In my mind, this is a slippery slope. I’m not convinced that guest seating should be extremely comfortable. If you know what I mean. Nonetheless, Paul and I went furniture shopping. We were looking for accent chairs, but then we started talking about sofas. After all, ours was looking a little worse for the wear.
The last time we shopped for furniture was about 21 years ago. We were different people back then. We had an infant. We were harried and tired all the time. I don’t remember having any trouble agreeing on a color, style, or material. We were just thrilled to have something to sit on and hoping there would be time to actually do that.
This time we found something wrong with everything we looked at. Some, we agreed on the fact that they were hideous or wouldn’t fit: that they wouldn’t work. Sometimes one of us fell in love with something, and the all powerful veto was pulled out. We both just kept thinking we liked what we had at home better.
In the past when I’ve been in the home of an older person, and things seem to be a bit worn or even threadbare, I’ve always wondered why the owners didn’t replace them. In my mind, the thought has always been, maybe they couldn’t afford to; maybe they’re too cheap to; or maybe it’s too much effort?
I don’t think that anymore though. When I sit on my lumpy, old sofa, I see the times I gave tiny baby Madison her bedtime bottle, the times the whole family sat, cuddled up, watching a movie together, the times we turned out the lights and sat looking at the Christmas tree, the times we’ve laughed, cried, made plans, had talks.
I was reminded a little bit of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing guru. She says, “In the Japanese way of thinking, we believe that every object has a soul, or energy, that flows through it.” I’m not sure I’m willing to go that far, although I have apologized to a chair when I accidentally stumped my toe on it. I do know that our sofa holds a lot of memories.
For now, we’re going to sit on our broken-in, familiar couch and take a trip down memory lane. We’ll just dress the room up for guests with a pair of chairs that are inviting - but not too inviting.
Now I have a few things around the house that I want to update. Paul’s completely against all of them. I’m just going to run them by my brother-in-law and have him put in a good word. If he can work his magic the way he normally does, everything will be done by the end of the summer!