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My House Has to Keep Up with Infinite Life Changes

paint spill on floor

Transitions are messy. So are dogs + ladders. Fortunately this was easy to clean off of the wood floors...along with my tears!

My family is in what the experts call “transition” and what we like to call “making it up as we go along.”

The biggest thread in our current transitional years is that both of my sons are out of high school and are trying to find their ways through their next educational steps. I had always assumed they would be like I was at that age, which was on fire to leave home for the glorious freedom of a cramped dorm room before finally scoring my own walk-up apartment with ramen-cooking hotplate in the corner.  Those were the days–until I became a parent not long after.

I’ve actually been craving the freedom that will come from that empty nest thing I’ve heard so much about. I’ve been a mother since my early 20s, and I raised these two and several small businesses in a small mid-century house with one bathroom (I know!), and I stayed put in this town and this neightborhood primarily because of the boys and the people who are important to them.

However, I’m ready for it all to change.

But it turns out my sons weren’t dying to put miles behind them and their hometown as I was at 18. They have wanted to stick closer to home. As in at home. My elder son moved out for a few years, but then bounced back., and is now launching himself again. My younger son isn’t sure of anything at all yet, but knows it’s not worth the money to live in a dorm when going to school in town. He really likes living with his brother so they might live as roommates after my older son gets settled. Or they might even end up taking over our family home, with me moving out.  Or we might all move out, and rent this house or sell it.

Transition. Making it up as we go along.

Our family is not alone in this shift from expectations. The economy, the rise in students choosing a 2-year community college or trade school stint before starting at a university and countless other factors have changed the way families transition children from school-age to adults. Homes are often nests that require more than one launch out.

For us, that means our home has to be as resilient as we are right now. It has to take care of us as we are now, but able to absorb a sudden change, a bounced-back kid, for example, or a quick move out for new owners to move it.

Until I’m sure where/when I want to move, I’ve decided to re-do my son’s old room to make a bigger office space for myself for the time being–and then I’ll be able to renovate my old office space, all towards getting the house ready to sell. Or to stay in forever. Or something in between.  It’s a slide puzzle of transition.

We’re painting all of the rooms white for simplicity. And we’re really lucky that we already have one of the most resilient of floorings. I love my home’s wood floors. I had them refinished when I moved in, and they’ve held up remarkably well against years of the boys’s cleats and assorted abuses.

The best thing about wood and laminate floors is they make decorating for transitional home use fun and affordable. Changing a room is as easy as unrolling a throw rug.  So with help from Home Depot, I’m picking out a few rugs that will allow our space to work for us now while standing ready for roll-up-the-rug change. (I’m a long-time devotee of Home Depot, and am loyal to them in response to their longstanding commitment to diversity and their history of standing up to pressure from hate groups. Good companies create fierce fans! I smile whenever I see their happy orange logo–and not only because it means I’m about to play with their power tool display.)

The only problem is that Home Depot has thousand of rugs. Thousands. Add those options to the other lovely floor options there (tile, laminate, wood, carpet) and you have a lifetime of choices to fit every possible lifecycle need.  Too many to choose from, really, which I guess is a bit what my sons and I are going through as we try to chart our next transitions in life — but too many opportunities is a good problem to have.

I’ll post again when I make a rug choice so you can see my office as it starts to shape up.

***A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion. 

Check out some of my other posts on Babble Voices: 

Let’s Talk About Sexting, Baby

One Million Moms Can’t Be Right, So this Gay Mom is Watching Gay Parents on The New Normal

Parents as Gender Warriors

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