We bought our little house in California one million years ago, in 1997. And it's a good thing, too, because that was the last year our oldest child was our only child, and it was also the last year we could ever have afforded to buy a little house in California.
It's a typical, boring, no frills, suburban tract home, but nearly 20 years later, we still love it. The property is just over zero acres, the living space is compact, and the laundry is in the garage, but my kids still like to argue over who will live here when Mom and Dad are dead and gone. I mean, obviously, if we're dead, they should probably sell the house and split the equity three ways (Turns out, it was really smart to buy a house in California in 1997. You're welcome, kids!), but they say they want to “keep it in the family”. Ha! Either way, this house has become part of the legacy we will leave for our sons.
The only real challenge we have in this house is size. Not the house's size, the house's size is fine – we have no desire for a bigger house - it's more the size of the kids that's a problem. My boys keep doing this thing where they turn into men? And then they take up a lot more space with their bodies. It's so annoying. They've become very long people. They are so very lengthy, and they have these expansive limbs that stick our very, very far from their actual bodies. This house has high ceilings, so vertically we do alright, but try sharing a standard three cushion sofa with several people over 6 feet tall. Trust me, it's no bueno. So the primary problem with filling a small house with tall people is that there's no room for big furniture.
You can never have too much sofa. That's a thing I decided.
I don't care what designers and decorators and, y'know, all the rest of the professionals have to say about it. People need a place to lounge. We need space to spread out, get comfortable, and stay awhile. We need to be able to fall asleep on the couch while we're watching Hannibal until 2am, together, but not touching. Lounging is important. Laying around in your pajamas with your kids on a Saturday morning – no matter how long they are – is kinda crucial to the health and well being of your family.
Recently, I noticed that whenever we decided to watch a movie or something, one kid or another would disappear. It took me awhile to figure out that it's because there was no room at the inn. If the sofa was already full of other people's arms and legs and stuff, the last man standing would rather do something else. There just wasn't enough space for my whole clan to lounge at the same time, and that was unacceptable, so a couple weeks ago I filled our itty bitty house with a big fat sectional, yes, including a chaise. Now it looks like my living room is pregnant with Don Draper's sunken sofa, and I don't even care. Do. Not. Care.
The day after we brought home the monstrosity of comfort, El Chupacabra and I went out to search garage sales for a sofa table to go with it, but it was rainy so we had to look at estate sales. Estate sales are always kind of weird for me, because....well....someone died. I know I'm there picking through the remnant belongings of the recently deceased, usually while their loved ones watch, and I feel this massive tension between wanting to be mindful of their loss and hoping for a kickass deal. It's always super awkward. But, at the very first estate sale we found, we came across the most perfect old stereo console.
This thing was hand made almost 50 years ago by the...uh...dearly departed. Like, he MADE it. With his HANDS. His daughter proudly told us he'd made other beautiful furniture throughout the years, but sadly none of his kids had room for this particular piece. As it was carried out to the car, and I heard one of the siblings take in a breath and say, “Oh, there goes Dad's stereo...” And in the chaos of closing out their father's estate, there was a brief pause for grief.
Thus, a tiny part of their legacy became a part of ours.
Of course, the first thing Dylan said when he saw the cabinet was, “Can I have this when you die?”, and Jamison cut in to say, “I'll fight you for it.” They're charming like that. Then they helped get it all set up in its new home behind our massive sofa expansion. It took a couple of hours, but El Chupahandyman got the turn table working and the bass kickin', and our home hasn't been the same.
The kids lounge and the music plays and we've been seeing a lot more of each other's faces.
To be honest, I don't really care what my kids do with this house after I'm dead and I don't care who wins the funeral fist fight over the stereo cabinet. But I do hope my boys will carry on this legacy of lounging around together. I hope they will actively make space in their lives for the people they love. As the world changes faster and faster, and people see less and less of each other, I hope they will remember the importance of being in the same room as another human being.
|Side note: I am not obsessed with Navy Blue. OBSESSED.|
I hope their couches will be huge and I hope they have too many chairs around their tables. And when people give them the side eye for having ridiculous furniture, I hope they invite them to sit down for awhile and tell them, “My Mom always said you can never have too much sofa.”
Are you sure you have enough sofa in your life? Like, really sure?