Over the last several months Chris and I have been shopping for things for the renovation of our new house: flooring, countertops, furniture. After years of living with furniture we’ve had since grad school, we are ready to have a Grown Up House.
You know what a Grown Up House means?
Yes, money. Lots of it. But besides money?
Care. Like showroom care. Like it’s never used care. Like impossible care.
The first kitchen table we picked out, the top was made out of concrete. Sounds durable, right? Except that you need to wipe up water stains immediately and avoid red wine stains as much as possible.
Yep. Nope. Not the table for this family.
When I told the salesperson helping us that it wouldn’t work for our family, she responded with, “You just have to let go of the idea of keeping it in pristine condition. Those marks are just the patina of your life.”
I wanted to respond with, “Look, darling. At that price, the table needs to keep ITSELF in pristine condition.” Instead I smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, that’s a lovely thought.”
You see, so far with the post-grad school furniture we DO HAVE, Ella has written her name (in pen) on the back of a chair and on a wooden coffee table. Sophia has climbed up a dresser and broke part of it off. And countless other things have required re-painting, professional cleaning, etc.
The current patina of my life has the markings of KID all over it.
Is it too much to ask to have a piece of beautiful furniture that is mine to enjoy?
We were told the same thing when shopping for marble countertops. As we debated marble or ceasarstone, the salesperson said, If you go with marble, you just have to accept it as reflecting the “patina of your life.”
I’m thinking it’s the new sales line everyone is taught when trying to convince families with small children to buy expensive things their children will undoubtedly destroy…
So now every time something is dropped or spilled, Chris and I respond with a comment about the patina.
Yesterday, we finally got around to decorating the Christmas tree Sophia asked us to put up last week. I kept on wanting to make it this sweet family Christmas card moment. You know, Christmas carols playing…everyone smiling…the whole Norman Rockwell scene.
Instead it went something like this: In a mad rush, the girls started unpacking the ornaments and put them all on the floor. Then, forgetting there were ornaments everywhere, they would insist on walking over everything to hang their “favorite” ornament on the tree. In the process of walking to the tree, they would inevitably step on ornaments, kick them with their shoe, and also taunt each other by swinging said favorite ornament in the other person’s face. Meanwhile I focused constantly on the crown molding that isn’t finished, the unstable fake Christmas tree I want to get rid of, how the girls kept putting the ornaments in the same section instead of spacing them out and the fact that we don’t have enough lights on the tree. And Chris…well, he just weathered the storm.
There might have been Christmas music playing, but the spirit was feeling more bah-humbug than Norman Rockwell. Deciding to just be done, we put the rest of the ornaments away and called Sophia over to put the star on top.
Every year Chris lifts one of the girls up to put the star on the top of the Christmas tree. It’s a tradition my Dad did with me when I was younger and one we continued with our girls.
Except they never like it when it’s the other person’s turn. This year the job was Sophia’s. Ella, not content to NOT be in the picture, decided to photo bomb the picture I took of Chris’ lifting Sophia up.
At first I was frustrated. Then I saw the picture and couldn’t help but laugh:
This, my friends, is the patina of my life.
Crazy girls. An awesome husband. A new home that we get to continue to make our own.
We talk loud. Love hard. Yell (probably) too often.
It’s messy and real. Not pristine condition, but scratched and stained and beautiful. Much like I imagine yours is.
Maybe it’s not a sales gimmick. Maybe it’s the truth. The real beauty of something lies in how it is lived and loved.
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