The Balance of More Equals Less
It was our decision, but with that decision finally made, it forced other things upon us that dictated our course. We chose to live together under one roof, to be a family united and not divided by separate homes. We want to share couches while watching murder and mayhem on the television. We want to gather around the same table every night for dinner and discuss our day. We want to be there for each other for the happy as well as the sad as life unfolds and not have to wait until the next time we see each other. One home. One family.
Now, ideally this would be a mansion with vast amounts of space and an abundance of rooms. At the minimum, each of the girls would have their own individual room in order to escape the chaos of a full house once in a while. Each room would be decorated according to their own tastes and needs. Perhaps a table for their arts and crafts, an easel for painting, a recliner to kick back and read or simply a loveseat to take a quiet nap on would fill their room. Shelves would be filled with the things they like to collect and walls covered in paintings that sparked something within them. However it was decorated, it would be their own personality creating their private sanctuary.
But we’re not there, yet. We’re getting closer, especially as each child moves away to college, but we still have a way to go. That, however, means that because there is more of us under one roof that there is less room for those things that mean something to only one individual. Now, that doesn’t mean nothing personal gets displayed. We have elephants and tea pots and a few things Disney as well as heirlooms passed down through the families. Yet, as discussed in the previous post, I’d Rather Share My Husband, the girls work hard at blending their different tastes so that the house has a flow to it and doesn’t resemble a thrift store on display.
Furthermore, it makes it necessary to make sure that new purchases matter. Where will it go if we buy it or what item already in use are we willing to either pack away or donate to a charity? If something is brought in, then something almost always has to go. Unless, of course, you want your home to resemble a garage sale. We’re not overly fond of that look, so we are constantly purging as we make room for new possessions.
The balance part is weighing the whole against the individual. Let’s face it, no one desires to live in a place that doesn’t represent them in any way. We love our homes, because we can see our stuff, see us in the little nuances of the decorations. Our knick knacks and paintings, even our furniture, says something about who we are as individuals and who would want to live in a place where they can’t see themselves?
So, we balance between representing the whole, the four of us, and each individual. Quite often it requires sacrifices on each person’s part, but we knew it would when we decided to live under one roof. However, the sweet thing I have noticed with the girls is that it isn’t each lady fighting for their own stuff, but rather for that of the other two. “I can pack this away” is often heard as decisions are made as to what to display on shelves and walls and that brings a smile to my face because it says something about our family. When love fills a home, then the heart rules over the material things. Love means you’re fighting for the other person’s interests and not your own.
This can also be dangerous and where I have to make sure the scales are not tipped completely over. The girls can watch out for the others’ interest too much, sacrificing everything that is theirs and that is just as unhealthy as going the other way. While it cannot be all about one individual, they cannot be allowed to lose themselves, either. Luckily, we are in a home where everyone is always looking out for each other.
“I couldn’t live that way. If I want something, I want to be able to buy it and put it wherever I want in my own home.” I’ve heard people say that, but truly, the only person who can actually do it is the single person unless you’re married with a selfish ass. Even a couple in a traditional marriage compromises with each other. We just have to compromise a little more because there are more of us in our family and while I have used the word sacrifices above, none of us feel that it is a sacrifice to give up those things in order to be together.
And that is how we know love rules our home and our lives.
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