Thanks to a freak storm in Hawaii, the dogs woke up at 3:15AM this morning and proceeded to whine until 3:30AM when I got out of bed to feed them and let them outside. Also thanks to said storm, our yard was a giant mud puddle and I watched in horror as my dogs slid through the mud, rolled around on our new(ish) outdoor rug and arrived back to the door to be let inside. Dane and I doubled down with cleaning duty (for both the dogs and the rug) and were settled in with a hot cup of coffee by 4:15AM, now fully awake.
As I sat and looked at our Christmas lights dancing around on the tree in the pre-dawn darkness (yes our tree is up, it’s who I am and I make no apologies) reflecting on the madness of our morning, I couldn’t help but be reminded about an idea that’s been brewing in my head for awhile — the argument for a well lived in home.
This is a good time to point out that I love a beautiful home. I love beautiful decor, I love pretty pictures of beautifully styled spaces, and heck – I like to try to take them in my own home from time to time. I follow at least a dozen home-styling Instagram accounts and lust over design style and decor. But the reality is that — that isn’t my reality.
My reality is a rental home that is older than my husband and I combined. I have two dogs that act like, well, dogs. And they’re really hairy. We hike and go to the beach and travel, which means that pieces of the outdoors are often brought indoors.
If you randomly pop over to my house, you won’t see a picture perfect space. You’ll walk into dog toys in my entryway and a dog hair tumbleweed in my hallway. My dogs also won’t be posed on the couch, they’ll be barreling toward you. You might see food prep in my kitchen for whatever I’m making for dinner and the pillows will likely be knocked off my couch (that is stained). There will be music blasting from my office and several rogue water or coffee cups sitting around. And I’m telling you now that if you use our powder room, the water stains in the toilet haven’t been scrubbed in awhile and the hand towel is rumpled.
Several months ago, we were having friends over for dinner and I was stressing about it on the phone with my mom. She finally said — I think the gig is up. They know you live there.
Her words rang in my ears for several days before it all just clicked for me.
Growing up, we didn’t live in a home that had formal rooms. You know the ones I’m talking about with the pristine vacuum lines where your parents kept the fancy furniture? We didn’t have those. There were musical instruments strewn about, dog hair tumbleweeds, coats hanging off chairs, laundry that piled up, mail on the counter, marks on the walls and on the carpets from times where we forgot to take off our shoes or scraped against paint with a backpack. All of this to say – we had rooms that showed the signs of a family and of life. We had a home that was filled with love.
So if you come to my house, expect to see a new(ish) outdoor rug that is newly stained as of this morning. My trash can may be overflowing and it’s definitely not stored in an invisible area – it’s out on display, because I don’t need to be fidgeting with cabinets and lids when I am peeling shrimp (#realtalk) You might also notice picture frames that need dusted, furniture that doesn’t quite fit in this rental home, dog slobber on my windows and a magazine laying on my bathroom floor.
These very details are the exact ones I used to wish away. The ones I would try to hide, or stress about. I’d panic when the dogs would jump on the furniture, when dishes didn’t get washed immediately or when someone would drop in unexpectedly and my house wasn’t “on”. These very details, the signs that tell the story of our life, were something I wanted to rid from my life in pursuit of a reality that doesn’t exist for us.
These days, I hope friends and family (we don’t have a ton here in Hawaii, but generally speaking) stop by unexpectedly. I am so thankful for signs of life in our home that make the big picture so very beautiful. Our home isn’t polished or perfect, but we live here, we love here, and it shows.