Wednesday, July 19, 2017
decorating the hallway
I sat at a splash-pad in a community park in a lovely, gritty part of Lincoln, Nebraska. I put my phone down. I had thought about leaving it in the car, but the 100-degree heat didn't seem friendly to expensive electronics. I watched with a soft smile from behind my knock-off Target shades as my son and daughter screamed with glee, chasing children and being chased across the sprays. They slid face-first down the slide, speed increased by the lubrication from their wet swimsuits. I glanced up at the sky, letting my eyes drift into middle distance as the clouds slowly swirled into new and interesting formations. I felt such deep peace and satisfaction.
It had been a very hard day. We were eleven days into our grand tour of the Midwest: a seventeen-day road trip that would bring us to friends and family both old and new (some brand-new, in the case of the new babies that we hadn't met yet, and the new husband for my youngest cousin). We were all feeling a little weary of this adventure, and ready for the comforts of home. Especially Todd, who had taken to plaintively observing, "I'm more of a home person." Vicki Jo was being more aggressive than normal (which is hard to do!), feeling a need to exert control over her environment.
But in that moment, as the damp, cool air from the sprays pleasantly washed over me, I just felt like I needed to stop and observe this moment. It was pure joy. Summer and swimsuits and sticky heat. Bodies that would expend all their energy and collapse into sleep happily once the sun set.
After all, this is my hallway season. I intend to stand here for a whole year, carefully observing circumstances and changes and my intuition. But I don't just want to stand in a bare, uncomfortable place. If we are going to dwell in this little hallway, we need to decorate. We need to bring in fresh flowers. We need to paint the walls. We need to make it feel like the home it is going to be: not only functional, but also beautiful. And so, as I let joy twist my mouth into a smile at the splash-pad, I realized that these memories are decorating this hallway. All these moments frozen in my mind, and hopefully etched onto the brains of my children, will be the perfect design scheme.
In Kansas City for my cousin Abby's wedding, we stayed with my brother and sister and their families in a beautiful airBnB in a historic part of town. The owner had done a professional-quality job decorating and adding those special touches. The downstairs bathroom was wallpapered in a gorgeous, bold, large-scale floral design. It just worked perfectly in that small space. I thought about how perfectly it would translate to the tiny little hallway in our own home. I have been putting off painting and decorating my house for the last five years because I "haven't had time." Well, now I have time. And the hallway will be the first place to be re-imagined.