Growing up, I adopted a pattern of behavior that I could only discern in hindsight. If my mom was good at something, if it was a priority for her, then I stayed away from it. Mom was a consummate homemaker, a great cook, terrific hostess, pretty, charming, petite, and devoted to maintaining a castle to be proud of. My older sisters came closer to sharing those priorities than I did, but even if I’d had those domesticating genes, if I wanted to be seen as an individual, I needed to find a different path.
I don’t know HOW to use make up, for example. Never learned, can’t see why I’d want to–unlike Mom, Maire, and Gail. I’m not much of a cook, though I’m way too good at baking, Mom, Maire, and Gail shared the cooking thing. To the extent I’m making lifestyle choices, that’s my business.
I’m finding though, as the day job ebbs, that I’m in my house more… and I’m in my house in a different way. I don’t plunge into a writing weekend knowing that come Monday, I’ll have to go back to the office. These days, I might not go back into the office until Tuesday. Or I might zip through on Monday, grab what I need, answer mail, and take most of Tuesday at home. My home is becoming more than my permanent camp site.
Years ago, when Darling Child was underfoot, I used to go nuts with flowers around the yard. I’m going nuts with flowers this year, in part because gardening is a good way to get out of the writing chair. I’m also doing it because I love to look out my window and see flowers. Love it.
I bought a rocking chair.
Why did I buy a rocking chair? Because the late mastiff and the bull mastiff ate the rockers off the one given to me when my daughter was born, and the golden retriever has appropriated the couch. The only places to sit comfortably in my house have been the writing chair, and well, the, um, reading room.
Now there’s a literary symbol for ya. I hadn’t realized this until recently. I was only here to eat, sleep, write, and do laundry, in a sense. My office is prettier than my house… yikes!
It’s time I made my nest affirmatively lovely. The yard is the immediate priority, because of the season, but I have ambitions for the house too. I’m going to pretty this place the heck up, maybe even invite some people over for a meal.
What a concept.
Look around your house and your yard. What would your mom think of it? What would your younger self think of it? If you were stuck there for six straight months, would you change anything?
To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight, a story about a daughter who thought she wasn’t that much like her mom.