The beauty of living in a small house is there is only room for what you need. Ideally. I need a really exceptionally tiny home to squeeze out the excess. In the meantime, I will continue to wage war against the junk room. When we first moved into our home, 8 ½ years ago, we had two – a guest room and a game room. A bed in the former and a foosball table in the latter served as meager placeholders for their true purpose, purgatory for our stuff. Over the years, we’ve downsized and downsized again. We turned the guest room into an office into a nursery. The spare room with no purpose went from an unused den to an unused game room to an office, cluttered but useful. And this past weekend I won a small battle against the constant barrage of missing, misplaced and meaningless things threatening to condemn our useful office into a wasteland.
Here is my secret. I wait. I wait until I absolutely cannot stand it anymore, until I would rather throw away every last thing without a second thought than look at it for one more second. Then I start.
I might win this war yet. I should probably find a place for that pillow propped up on the windowsill first though.
This past Sunday morning, while Ben was trying to take Leila to her room to get dressed, she stopped at the bathroom door, looked towards me and said, “I want to wear that dress.”
“It’s too big for you,” I quickly explained.
She remained paused at the door, looking at me. There was a hint of a sigh before it came out, “You look bootiful.”
And the brief statement stopped me. I was standing there, in my Sunday best, looking into the mirror, putting blush on my right cheek, when she said it. I couldn’t quite grasp what stopped me in the moment, but I know it now. This question. Is this what I want her to think is beautiful? Is this when I want her to see me as beautiful?
She’s two. Dresses and glitter and shiny and yellow motorcycles and snakes and roly poly bugs all seem to enchant her. Life enchants her. Life is beautiful to her. I see this. I know this.
But she has stopped to stare and tell me, “You look beautiful” when I wore a pink hairpin or a purple dress. And it makes me self-conscious of what I may be teaching her about beauty. I am happy with my body and my diet and my style. I am confident my intentions are something I want to pass along. I am worried they may be getting lost in the product though. After all, that’s what she sees, the product – the make-up, the mirrors, the pink hairpins.
I feel like I’ve escaped a lot of the typical parenting anxieties, but I do worry about what we may do to interfere with our child’s inherently perfect ways of seeing and experiencing the world – of seeing all that is truly beautiful.
This is a short story.
I spent three hours on the phone with 4 separate credit card representatives, 3 customer service representatives and 1 in store manager to try to un-do a mistake that THE STORE MADE. They were all exceedingly unhelpful, and not once was I given even the slightest apology for their mistake or the inconvenience it caused me. The last person lamely told me that had I spoken with her first (as if wading through incompetence was my choice) she would have been able to resolve the matter in a more satisfactory manor, but at this point she had to honor the poor resolution I had previously been promised. Apparently that’s what over $2000 at West Elm will get you.
Then this evening, in less than 15 minutes, I was able to transfer my phone and airtime and gifted an additional 60 days of service. The customer service representative was pleasant and efficient. Thankfully that is what $5 with TracFone will get you.
Sometimes you get exactly the opposite of what you pay for, or so I learned today.
(This view. About 1/100 the cost of a West Elm couch.)