You know that dynamic that happens on the last day of classes? People you never spoke with before suddenly smile at you and you share a laugh about how late you were up studying the night before. The room is full of busy chatter across rows; everyone is engaged. In those ten minutes before the professor hands out exam packets, you get this sense of "wow, why wasn't the whole semester like this?"
That's how I feel in my home right now.
We spent 30 months living in my parents' house. Shortly after our second anniversary, we packed up our apartment and moved into the bedroom I slept in as a little girl. For 30 months, that was our primary space while we finished school, worked a variety of jobs, and began raising an adventurous child. Ten months have passed since we got back into our own place...and I have spent nine of those months fighting these walls.
We live in a 3-bedroom apartment, which is plenty of space for the four of us. The neighbors below have six kids, across the hall there are five between the ages of 3 and 14, and below them a family of six resides. It's not about space. It's about contentment.
There's a lot more to be said regarding the role contentment plays in my story (some of which I'll be speaking to in coming weeks), but today, my mind is on my home. And the truce I've called with her.
For nine months, I woke up anxious. Would I get out today? Where would we go? What could I do with two little ones without spending money? I couldn't stand to be in the apartment for more than a couple hours without a plan.
Then I heard my voice reflected in a sweet two-year-old.
"I wanna go!" he cried at the front door.
"Go where?" I asked
"Go car! Go! Please!"
This went on every morning. By nature, he is a lot like his mama; and without saying a word, I taught him that we never stay home for more than a couple hours without leaving to "get out". I taught him that being at home wasn't enough...and that life happened out there, not in here. He heard me and picked up my fight; and it wrecked me.
Recently, I let it go. As I sat at the table with my coffee and mentally rolled over the unscheduled hours ahead, I made a commitment. We would spend the entire day at home, unless a true need came up that required us to leave. We would not go out of restlessness. My fear was that by 5PM, family frustration would reach new limits and we would all be in tears by dinner. To my surprise, Ian and I had one of our best days in months, which also led to a relaxing and fun night in once BJ came back from work. Ironically, the harder I fought to get out, the more restless we were at home. The more I submitted to just being here, the more energized we felt within these walls and away.
In the weeks since, the atmosphere of our home has noticeably changed, especially in the evenings. A time that had been exhausting and emotional has become refreshing and restful (as restful as is possible with two under the age of three). Not only am I more grateful for the rooms that make up our home, I enjoy them in a way I didn't before.
And it makes me think, what other fights do I need to lay down...and what peace will follow as I let them go?