We are now approaching the age our pediatrician was when we began taking our babies to see him. He was a wonderful man who visited with us as much about life as vaccinations and diaper rash. He would deal with the issue at hand with whichever child we had brought in, then settle himself on his stool and launch into a conversation about parenting–his or ours, marriage or whatever issue he found interesting that day.
He was a single father who had raised three children who were all grown and recently on their own. During one of our visits he told about his adventures in necessary redecorating.
You spend so many years driving kids to activities, and tackling laundry or homework. Just doing the things you have to do to get them raised. One day you get there. Life slows down and you think, ‘I am going to take a minute to myself and just sit in this chair.’ So, you do. You sit, and at first it is blissfully peaceful. You close your eyes and relax, but at some point you have to open your eyes again. And when you open your eyes, you look around you and you realize that the whole place has gone to hell while you were busy driving the kids and doing the laundry.
As I said, we are approaching the age he was at that time. Just as he was so wise in all of the things he told me about caring for babies and not neglecting my marriage, he was right on the money on his home decorating predictions as well.
My son announced to me in a panic the other day that he had torn the upholstery on the built-in couch that sits atop a bank of drawers situated between walls of shelves. A button caught as he stood up and he heard a tearing sound. I wasn’t upset, having a vague awareness that the cushions were nearing the end of their usefulness, but it wasn’t until I really looked at the thing that I realized the end had arrived (likely about 2009).
It made me take a good look all around the place. Just as the good doctor had predicted, the place had deteriorated like mad while we were busy raising kids. But does that deterioration stop with upholstery and painted surfaces? More likely it is time for a thorough exam to see what else has suffered from neglect through the years. Relationships? Health? It would be a shame to discover this sad, saggy couch was just the tip of the iceberg.
Note: The search for replacement fabric is well underway. Getting five people to agree on any one fabric is tricky, but I think we have a winner. It should be making its way to an upholsterer near us very soon. The great thing about this project is that someone else can make it happen for me while I tackle the next neglected thing on my list.
Kick in the pants motivation provided by Apartment Therapy Design Cure.