It’s time to pick paint chips for the almost-finished room. My three oldest daughters have to decide on a colour for their new room. We are giving them the Master Bedroom and my husband and I are taking the smallest bedroom at the back of the house.
The three girls have decided on grey for the walls and now it’s a matter of picking a grey. Paint chips are taped all over the wall and they are looking at how the light changes throughout the day. The two sisters are taking pictures of the room and all the paint chips to send to their older sister for input. The room will be completely done by the time she gets back from Argentina.
We’ve been in this house for nine years and have not painted any of the bedrooms. The kids have asked us over and over to paint their rooms. But with new babies always being born and constantly changing preferences, I denied their requests. Over the last nine years, they have been happy with hand-me-down furniture and cheap beds and makeshift rooms that just did the trick – a place to lay their head and store their clothes. These bedrooms were more utilitarian than beautiful. We have a three bedroom house for seven people. Function trumps form.
As we reshuffle room assignments, I think of how easy it is to go back to the same attitude – practical and functional (with less stuff, of course). But then I hear the sisters talking about the big plans for their room – a bean bag chair, a reading nook, and their very own bookshelf. I ask the youngest two what they would like to see in their room once a sister leaves and they mention monkey bars, gymnastic rings, swings, and a climbing wall. I ask about beds and they both agree that they aren’t necessary if they have a comfy floor to camp out on.
Ever-Patient and I think of our own dream room. It is filled with morning light and there are minimal furnishings – a bed, a side table, a dresser, and a bookshelf. It is a neutral palette and there is one art piece on the wall that I have yet to create.
I love the names of the paint chips I am considering: “etched glass,” “era,” or “distant star.” They are inspiring themes for my dream room.
Why can’t we have these dream rooms? What has been stopping us all these years?
Our tidying project has allowed us to reclaim joy as a necessary part of our life. Each object must bring us absolute joy. It must thrill us and meet us where we are right now and not fulfill a past thought or a future hope. The rooms are their personal spaces. They should be an expression of who they are right now. Yes maybe a jungle gym without beds for a bedroom is impractical and bad for re-sell but to see them speak of it with a sparkle in their eyes is enough to make us seriously consider it. For the older kids, they may not be able to have their own rooms but they can create comfortable spaces within this common space to find privacy and solitude.
Through examining who we are as a family right now, we are creating a home that reflects our current family identity. For us, we would like to travel more and have a home base that is a resting place for us not filled with stuff but empty of space where we can rest our weary feet. We are an active family that spends a lot of time outside of the house so we don’t want to spend all of our time cleaning and tidying it.
Living in a space that serves us now ends up being a dream home. A perfect fit for our family. Dreams that come true don’t have to have grandiose fairytale endings. Sometimes a dream coming true is a simple realization of what you truly need and doing anything it takes to get rid of what you don’t.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.