Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Making Room at the Inn

We moved a treadmill into our bedroom on Friday.

Let me tell you something: A baby takes up less room than a treadmill.

At least in the short run.


To make room for the treadmill, I had to vacate what I have dubbed "the corner of shame." What a colossal mess. It's an ever changing mess, a mess for all seasons. It holds Scout gear and birthday presents, miscellaneous junk related to the fish tank and boxes of hand me downs. When the kids were younger and not so adept at snooping, it held all our Christmas gifts.

This time last year I cleaned out the corner of shame in record time. My parents were on their way to Florida and planned a brief layover at my house. Mom was not doing well. She had just been released from a rehab facility following a serious fracture. I knew she had been in a wheelchair. An hour or two before their arrival, my dad informed me that Mom was entirely wheelchair bound. Furthermore, the wheelchair was too wide for a standard bathroom door. She would need to get into our house through a door blocked by the pile 'o shame.

Necessity can indeed be my friend. In the span of an hour or two, the pile was gone, the door was accessible, and a portable toilet stood ready and waiting. I made a space for my mother.

I think the pile reappeared forty-eight hours after their departure.

Friday I tackled it anew, and we now have a treadmill in its place.

Kolbe wants to start running, and he asked if we could find a treadmill. We found one -- a space saving, portable, foldable model -- and it was free! Now don't let the terms space-saving, portable, or foldable fool you. This thing is huge.

As I cleaned and sorted, dusted and donated, I thought of the skill set that motherhood demands. An important element of that skill set is the ability to make a place.

Last week I gathered with a group of women in our community to discuss ways we could do a better job of making other women feel welcome. How do make a place for new people, for older people, for single people, for all people?

The discussion left me thinking about the many ways women make a space for people. Sometimes it's a physical space. Do you have a seat? There's one right here. Sometimes it's emotional space. How are you doing? Can I pop by? Sometimes its material space. I'm running to the grocery store. Can I pick anything up for you?

Making a space is an important job and a huge part of motherhood.

When I was expecting Tim, I spent hours and hours designing his nursery. How fun was that! Four years later, Kolbe moved into the nursery, and I transformed the guest room into a space room for Tim who, at age four, planned to be the first American on Mars.

A  l-o-n-g  six years after Kolbe, John came along, and so did our first set of bunk beds. Nesting with your third is very different from nesting with your first. Having had two babies, I had a clear idea of what was worth taking up real estate, what was completely unnecessary, what I could borrow rather than buy, etc.

I made a space for dear, sweet John. It was a special space, a smaller space, but still a special space. I bought John diapers, wipes, a few sleepers, and a box of Dreft.  I've written before about the years of loss that preceded John's birth. Nesting (even though it was really micro-nesting) was pure unadulterated joy.With each baby I've bought one box of Dreft. I launder and fold all the onesies and sleepers. It's so fun, so, so fun! I must have oxytocin positively oozing from my pores as I fold.

And then Ainsley was on the way. Suddenly the three bedroom house seemed a tight fit. We borrowed a bassinet and purchased an armoire. I bought new onesies and my trusty box of Dreft. In a moment of wild abandon, I bought a set of pink sleepers.

If Ainsley didn't get much space in our house, she got an enormous chunk of our hearts (and, truth be told, she commandeered a substantial part of our closets as the avalanche of pink came in).

Mothers cull through the too-small clothes and sort through the news ones. They box up the Little People and make a space for Legos. The Hardy Boys move out, and J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling move in. They buy Scouting equipment and basketball shoes, bicycles and tiny kitchens with red gingham curtains.

I have a son who loves messy, messy crafts and another son who plays the guitar and the piano. We make a place in our house, in our budget, and our schedule for these things to happen. Mothers make a place.They may grumble and kvetch, wring their hands over the cost, pray for logistical miracles to get everyone where they need to be. But they make a place.

Can I tell you a secret? I don't want a treadmill in my bedroom. I like my room. It's yellow and red and filled with dark wood and Mother's Day gifts from the kids and my bridal bouquet and my grandmother's picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus . . . and a big, hulking treadmill.

I don't want a treadmill in my room, but I want room for my son to grow and develop. I want him to  know deep within his heart that his mother was always willing to make a place for him.


Amy Parris said...

Great attitude Kel! Hope it works out for all of you.

Natasha said...

Thanks for sharing Kelly! I found your blog through Rachel Balducci's and have been a faithful reader ever since. I think every Mom of more than a couple children relates to the feeling of making space, and the sacrifices you make when, for the time being, the needs of your little (and not-so-little!) ones trump your own desires for your space. I wrote about my own personal revelation of the same a few months back (http://asthefamilygoes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/blooming-where-were-planted.html?m=1). Keep it coming, love keeping up with your beautiful family! God bless you in your ministry!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. Yes indeed. I have been reflecting on similar things in our house, with various repairs and reshufflings and redoings going on. For me, it's actually not really a question of material goods, but fundamentally a question of how creative and flexible I can be, and also a wee testing of my priorities.

Kate said...

We have lots of space in our house now. And things actually stay somewhat tidy. And it tends to be very quiet. After years of clutter and chaos and confusion, it is very hard to get used to. I don't know how to cook for 3....I miss my girls!

Kelly said...

Blogger ate my comment which basically said, "Thanks for the upbuilding words! Welcome, Kate and Natasha! Amy and Christine, I always love hearing from you!"

P.S. Kolbe is loving the treadmill. I told Dave it's worth the effort, worth the space.