Live simply to be my new motto

I was looking at a magazine in a waiting room the other day.
I should preface this tale with the fact I’m not a particularly good waiting room-type person. If I was a student of waiting, I would require remedial assistance, with no awards of any kind in my future—not even the kind of award that recognizes I showed up (participation I think they call it).
Though in all fairness to me, I’m much better at waiting than I used to be, so I suppose there is always hope.
I usually bring along my writing or a kakuro game, and blank pages in which I can pen a list when I am obligated to wait. Making lists is always an excellent use of time otherwise wasted, but I had none of the above with me.
Poor planning, to say the least, so I was forced to turn to the magazines that had been in this particular waiting room since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
I picked up some sort of House Beautiful magazine, with huge glossy photos of homes that were quite lovely—show pieces I’d say because no one lives in these designing marvels, not really, not in the sense of the word “living.”
These homes are staged; there are no read newspapers discarded on the coffee tables (though I would love to say this were so in my home) and the throws on the back of the sofa are not meant to be cuddled beneath.
The artwork on the walls isn’t the work of a six-year-old.
There are no pieces of pipe insulation taped to the sharp edges of the furniture to prevent bruises on those learning to walk. No one’s abandoned socks are hiding under the chair and absolutely no tufts of dog hair regularly take flight around the room.
I enjoy looking at beautiful homes; the space filled to perfection with a throw pillow positioned just so and an appropriate colour. And those with the flair to do such things, to know intuitively just how to put things together, are talented folk.
Having said that, I like clean lines, without clutter and confusion. But most importantly, a house should be friendly, welcoming, giving off a sense of sanctuary and safety as if it is the one place in which you can really exhale, let your lungs empty and your shoulders drop, without pretense, no stiff upper lip required.
I think the place we call home should be all these things, where children can visit without threatening their safety; without emergency drills and the poison control hotline number written by the telephone in the event of a tragedy.
A grandma’s house definitely should be these things, the place where we go and are loved unconditionally.
Loved because our grandma knows we are perfect and doesn’t judge our disdain for Brussels sprouts and our reluctance to floss, doesn’t mind if we wet the bed even though we hoped we wouldn’t, and sitting through an entire meal is optional and we are not judged for our dexterity with a knife and fork.
A grandma’s house used to be a place of constant; an unchanging oasis in which the details could be counted on: the wallpaper staying the same, the furniture still good enough, the door frame marking the growth of everyone who passed through.
Times have changed, people are on the move and we’ve adjusted as best we can.
I’ve seen some homes of grandparents and they are not the least bit kid-friendly. They are, as those photos in the magazine declare, look what I’ve accomplished.
I think if we pursued something a little more modest, we could teach our grandchildren a valuable lesson: live simply so others may simply live.
This is my new motto. Actually, those words are just a rephrasing of how I have lived my whole life—despite a few episodes of house envy rearing up every now and then and moments of imagining something grand, so I think I’ve been on track most of the time.
I hope my grandchildren find safety and unconditional love in my home. It is my highest ambition.
wendistewart@live.ca

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail