I think of my friend, Dawn, as the Bruce Lee decorator. "Take that! And that! And that! Hiii-Yaw!" Fabric, flowers, paint colors and pictures fall into perfect order at her command.
Me? Notsomuch. My decorating abilities are more like the duel between Merlin and Mad Madam Mim. "Take that! I mean that! OH! That's not what I mean!"
Our one-income budget does not allow for this weakness. I must choose between school books and floral arrangements. My home is comfortable and cozy but you would not be awestruck if you were to walk through the front door. What we lack in beauty we make up for in serenity. This I can attain with music, candles, organization and a structured schedule. It is much easier on the wallet. Oil lamps and the fireplace in the winter make up for the lack of pictures on the walls. The smell of fresh bread and homemade soup might distract your attention from my kitchen table.
We found a large oak table in the newspaper and bought it from a woman who used it solely for company. It was in mint condition. Now it is home to academic discussions, arguements and laughter. We cover it with school books, spilled milk, playdough and science experiments. Dirt and sand have rubbed away the finish. Little hands have carved shapes and letters in the wood with scissors, knives and pencils. The table will not catch your attention because of its beauty. You will notice it for its scars. It wears the badges of serving a productive, creative young family.
When I read Better Homes and Gardens I pull out the Swedish and Shaker pages. I dream of a house with light colored fabric and paints and floor coverings. My children do not aspire to live in this type of home. My children LOVE dirt. They make tiny bricks out of mud and build fairy houses. They carry bucket loads of glop to form a bridge across a small puddle. The glop and clay inevitably makes its way through the door. So I must choose. Showplace or creativity? Pride or peace? Two incomes and the luxuries that come with that choice or one and the once in a lifetime chance to leave a lasting imprint on my impressionable young?
Today, I again set aside the longing for the perfect house. I meet my muddy children at the door with a bucket of soapy water and a washcloth. I still wish for a little of Decorator Dawn's abilities even if it may be years before I can put those skills to use.