When we were first married, I was on the job hunt and Husby was mowing lawns before he went to work as a Forensic Scientist. For a solid 2 months, our sole income was that of his mowing gig. I stayed home and applied for jobs, interviewed for jobs and prayed a lot - for a job. But when I wasn't doing those things, I was living my dream as a stay-at-home wife. And LOVING it.
Our little apartment never had a chance to get dirty because I was like June Cleaver on steroids, dusting and mopping and scrubbing and organizing. I was a total freak about vacuum lines and if we were expecting company, I insisted Husby walk around the perimeter of the room so as not to mess up my vacuum lines. I had a notebook of our budget that I wrote in religiously. I made the bed (WITH the dozen pillows) every morning and I showered and put on my make-up every day, though I didn't always go somewhere. I cooked a giant supper every night with 2 or 3 sides, even though it was just the two of us. And I often had a dessert waiting to be devoured.
(Our apartment at Christmas.)
I vividly remember standing in the middle of the living room, ironing a table cloth so that supper would be nice and inviting when Husby came home. I always put out candlesticks on the table and played dinner music ... almost every single night!
The laundry basket was always empty and the house smelled of macintosh apples, courtesy of Yankee candles. Our tiny, cozy apartment was my new territory and quite frankly, I dominated it.
And then ... I got a job.
Slowly but surely, the dust began to settle, the bathtub had rings, the cabinets were in disarray, the carpets hadn't seen a vacuum line in ages and don't even think about the dinner table donning a table cloth. We were lucky if I threw something in the crock pot! My priorities had changed and my energy was zapped at the end of the day. My home reflected that and it made me crazy.
I cried on a weekly basis because of the mountains of laundry we had ... and the lack of space we had to store anything. I often thought back to my short stint of homemaking and couldn't wait to get back to it. I felt like I wasn't giving all I had to being who I truly wanted to be and the things I desired to do, and it was very frustrating. I was doing what I needed to do (work outside the home) at that point in our lives, but my heart wasn't in it. My heart was at home ... dreaming of home cooked meals and a baby.
Later down the road, after we reached several goals and life plans, the baby became our reality and I was finally able to live out my dream. At home. Creating a peaceful nest and nurturing the ones I love. The other night as I stood in the kitchen balancing the pots on the stove and the dishes in the oven all while tripping over dinosaurs and soccer balls, I started laughing and reminiscing to Husby about the first few months of marriage.
The thought of ironing a table cloth without the prospect of guests now seems absurd ... and candlesticks? They only come out for special occasions. Oh, and our "dinner music" is now Levi screaming his ABC's or the Itsy Bitsy Spider in between bites. :)
Our days now do not resemble at all the perfection of that little apartment - there are always toys strewn about, a load or two of laundry in the hamper and always a closet that needs cleaned out. But whenever I'm frustrated or just worn from the daily grind of home making, I always think back on those sweet little days of "practice". And I pray for a bit of the same enthusiasm I had years ago, but with realizing that my priorities are totally different than they were then.
All I had TO do was clean, organize and cook. Now, I have much bigger and better things to fill my day. And if that means the laundry sits while I read books to Levi - so be it. If the dishes sit in the sink after supper while we play outside as a family - so be it. If vacuuming is put off another day because I'm playing Super Weebie with my boy - so be it. THESE moments are the desire of my heart. The house may not always look like it did back then and our dinners may not be candle lit, but my home has never felt more warm ... cozy ... inviting ... my home has never felt more like home.
I'm so thankful for those sweet carefree days of old that I cherish with Husby. We look back on them and laugh all the time. But truly, looking back, it feels like I was "playing house". Now, I'm actually living it.
Living it and loving it.
Footprints in the carpet, and all.