Pete and I are 35 and still have never owned a house. We rent a quirky little home with a backyard that is at times better suited to bundu-bashing than games of baseball or catch. The carpets are stained with melted play-doh and mud has been tracked in irreversible trails throughout the house. Our boys share a bedroom and are incapable of falling asleep without a never ending stream of conversation, irritation, and escape routes.
The faux bricks in the kitchen are constantly dropping off the walls in the middle of the night and the dishwasher and I are barely on speaking terms. The laundry room holds me in disdain since I am unable to keep up with all the loads and instead play laundry roulette on a regular basis, gambling that there will be something clean for everyone to wear.
Our mattress is the same one we’ve had since we got married 11 years ago and the frame, head board and bed skirt have long since given up the ghost. None of our art is framed and most of our frames are cracked. And I wouldn’t know a window treatment if it came up and bit me.
Our closets are too small and our old suitcases are too big. They clutter up precious storage space and the boxes of junk that have traveled to three continents with us take up the rest of it. There is no guest bedroom, no basement, and no spare square inch of space that isn’t filled with the constant chaos generated by our boys.
Pete and I have been together for 14 years, three continents and two kids. We wouldn’t trade all the white picket fences in the world for the faces and places we’ve met and loved along the way. Because we rent we’ve never had to worry about fixing broken toilets, sinks, disposals or doors. The back yard is a boy’s paradise; play-doh and mud are the medals of having made the most of a day and renters worry much less about stains than home owners. Our boys are passionate friends who never tire of each others’ company no matter how tiring their exploits might be to us. And sleeping in separate rooms is about the worst idea they can imagine.
The kitchen is quirky but everything in it works. And I’m never alone at the sink, the dishwasher or the dryer because my boys love to smother me in unsolicited help. Laundry takes a back seat to wrestling matches and I will remember the arms and legs wrapped around my waist in tight monkey hugs and forget the mountains of dirty clothes.
Our mattress feels like home. It carries the imprint of a decade worth of loving and enjoys eating our children every evening between bath and bed. We have paintings from every country we’ve lived in that peer out at us from shelves and drawers and yell greetings from far-flung friends. We’ve shared cultures and memories with our children that transcend photo frames and overflow old boxes. Our suitcases have become familiar family members and they’ve earned the space they take up.
We live on top of each other in a rugby scrum of joy and wouldn’t trade a square foot of the rowdy love that results from being parents to our boys for all the Pottery Barn furniture in the world.
Although, if the cleaning fairy every wanted to stop by, she’d be more than welcome.
PS: Inspired by this post by the talented Casey over at Mooshinindy.
PPS: You can still enter the Great Gussy Giveway by clicking here.