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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Too Many Cooks

Rumbling constantly, the air conditioning attempts to keep both the heat and humidity at bay, but they manage to seep in through the tired bones of our eighty year old home.  My narrow galley kitchen absorbs the heat like a sponge, challenging me to attempt a meal in the oven.
 
Carefully strategizing, I plan for the week, grasping for ideas that use the crock pot or waffle iron or any other appliance that doesn’t add to the thin layer of sweat that follows us inside after a killer game of hopscotch.
Even lifting the crockpot to shred the chicken filling for our tacos emits enough heat that I rewrap my hair into a ponytail.
Abbey and Dylan are pulling pots and Tupperware out of cupboards to cook at my feet, carpeting the already-miniscule floor with an obstacle course of stainless steel and brightly colored lids.
Abbey pulls open the refrigerator for her water.
I twist around her to grab the salsa.
Dylan pulls open the drawer for a box of macaroni and cheese to shake around and hide in an unrelated cupboard.
I step over him to pull out the taco shells.
Irrationally, my eyes fill with tears.
I dream of an open kitchen, flowing into a dining room or living room where Abbey and Dylan could play, within eyesight but safely out of the way of the hot stovetop.
I dream of a fenced-in yard, far from the main street on which we’re now situated.
I dream of a little desk in a little cubby, where I can write and plan and organize my thoughts when the kids are in bed and Ryan is studying.
I wipe the tears before they fall; these dreams are out of reach for now.  With the plummeting house values and my lack of income, moving won’t be a realistic “to-do” on our list for at least a few years.
Weeks go by when I don’t worry about the shrinking walls, though the overwhelming amount of kids’ stuff needs to be addressed soon, but there are days it consumes me.  I worry that I’m being selfish, sacrificing a job that may have helped us to move sooner. 
Will they resent our miniscule backyard?  Our cramped kitchen?  The way I freak out the moment they get a little too close to the street, cars dangerously close to the curb?
Then Abbey pulls me over to her easel, dragging her little stool in her other hand.
“Mommy.  I LOVE our house,” she exclaims dramatically, without cause or explanation.
My worries will return, but in that moment, I am at peace with our home, even if our house could use some work.
because there's nothing like crushed Cheerio dust to add a little fun to a crowded kitchen
two oven mitts - she means business

Labels: ,

32 Comments:

  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:23 AM , Anonymous Renegades said...

    Having Mommy there with them in that moment seems to be the important things to kids.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Anonymous Elena @NaynaDub said...

    I can't tell you how much I have these thoughts as well. When we bought our house it was right when we were first married (10 yrs ago). It was our 3-5 year house - not our "raise a family" house. Well, here we still are. Our house sits next to a main road as well and it drives me crazy. I'll never feel comfortable saying go outside and play on your own when they're a bit older. I always feel like we're stuck as well due to the housing market and I get really bummed about that. But, just like Abbey, my kids seem to love the house as well and don't notice the road noise or the fact that we have literally grown out of it. Guess I have to start looking at it through their eyes!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM , Anonymous christina said...

    this is sooooooo beautiful!! :)))
    if there's one thing i've learned in my life, it's that kids really and truly and wholeheartedly don't care about the stuff they don't have. not when they're young and impressionable. not when they need us, their parents, the most. not when snuggling up to us completes them (as much as some of us).... it's so hard not to think of bigger and better things as an adult, but if we could just see things more through their eyes, we would be SO happy SO much more of the time.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous Mama Wants This said...

    The important thing is that your kids are happy - and clearly, they are :)

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM , Anonymous Amiyrah Martin said...

    This was beautifully written. I understand exactly what you are going through. I feel that way every time I pass the room that my 1 year old daughter and 6 year old son have to share. I feel guilty about not working to get us out of this 2 bedroom place and into a "real" home for them, but when I see them play together, it puts it all into perspective. So, know that you are not alone :)

    I'm visiting from PYHO. Hope you can stop by and read my post for this week.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM , Anonymous Poppy said...

    Even if your house were huge, they'd still probably be at your feet, unless of course you had the nanny to go along with the mansion :)  No matter how much stuff they have, the box of macaroni and cheese is more entertaining, right? 

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    Your kids are darling. I think about the job thing sometimes, too- if it would help us if I went to back to work full-time... but it's a different kind of sacrifice then. And you know what? I grew up in a TEENY house. But, it was just home- I never really thought about hte size. Not until I went back with my kids to visit- and then I really got a good look. Kids just see it as home.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 1:01 PM , Anonymous Amy said...

    Having given up my job too, I feel your guilt about taking things away from the kids, your husband and yourself.  Think about what you are giving them though.  YOU! and thats better than anything the money will bring.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM , Anonymous Mama Zen said...

    This is so sweet!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM , Anonymous Mama Track said...

    I know the feeling. We lived for years on Capitol Hill in DC--I loved our houses there but they were cramped and it was hard.

    I can say this, without a doubt--your children care far more about being with you than where they live.

    Hang in there.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 5:13 PM , Anonymous Kristin & Megan said...

    I so feel your pain lady. We're a bit cramped right now too. I am so ready to move! But the fun I've had with my little man in this house makes living here so much more bearable!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 6:05 PM , Anonymous Adrienne said...

    I absolutley LOVED this post. I have felt that way so many times only to be reminded by my kiddos that they don't even notice the cramped home. It's the family inside that matters! {{{Hugs}}}
    Stopped by from PYHO. I'm new to your blog, but my blog (I don't ususally advertise in a comment, but it's fitting here.) is www.storiesfromtheshoebox.com. The "shoebox" being the home that's always too small. *winks*

    Beautiful kids!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM , Anonymous Suemarkiewicz said...

    Love the whole article... but, I especially loved the first paragraph.  Pulls us in and excellent  personification!  You must be an English teacher or something : ) 

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:11 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Sue!  I hope you like your new school!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh thank you!  I know that in the long run, it's just space, but I second guess that all the time.  I need to remember that they don't know or care about material things on their own; it's learned behavior, and they'll learn it from me if I can't let it go :(

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:17 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I like to think that I could leave this house without looking back, but I know that's not true.  It's the home we've built together, where we've spent our holidays and watched our babies grow and meet milestones and laugh and snuggle.  If I could only stretch it out a little bit...

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh, thank you!  I can't imagine the houses in DC.  I imagine they were very cute and well made and small! (and pricey!)

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    They are sweet, until they start using all of the pots and pans to mix up real food, adding to my dish washing stack ;)

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I hope it's true.  Some days I feel like I AM giving them a gift by being home, and I would never, ever trade it for money.  Other days I wish I could give them more :(

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:23 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You're right; there's a sacrifice both ways.  The great majority of the time (90%??) I am confident I'm making the right one, but the other 10% makes me feel guilty and awful.

    Also, you're right about the house.  I remember going back to my grandma's house (where my mom grew up) as an adult and thinking there was no way it could be the same house.  Probably the size of the house I have (that I complain about) but with 7 kids!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:25 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Wait, a bigger house doesn't come with someone to clean it and keep my kids occupied so I can cook dinner and have a chilled cocktail waiting for the hubby when he walks in the door?  What?  Maybe I should reevaluate this wanting a bigger house thing ;)

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:25 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I guess we always just want more for them.  We want to give them absolutely everything and sometimes it's hard to remember that giving ourselves and our time is an immeasurable gift.

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:26 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Dylan was not happy to be put to bed tonight ;)  but in general, yes, I think they are!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:27 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You are so very right, of course!  I guess I should save my worrying (and my money) for when they are teenagers and trying to convince me to buy some ridiculous, trendy clothing :)

    I wish I could go hug them after reading this, but they're finally in bed, and I'm not risking a wake-up!

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 8:29 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    We are in the exact same situation (oh, we'll just live here maybe 4 or 5 years at the most!)

    I try to think of the good things: less to clean, I can let them play a little on their own since they're still so very close by, we've got a cute staircase.  There are just some days when I'm walking on things and trying to figure out if I could buy a larger, more modern refrigerator (nope) that I get frustrated :(

     
  • At July 27, 2011 at 11:14 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I hope so :)  They do seem to want to be right.there. no matter where I am!

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 7:54 AM , Anonymous Kpiccini said...

    I can't tell u how much I identify with this, while I have a nice enough house and we "built" it I always wish for more space, more stuff, more...bedrooms, more room for my family and I get so upset that the reason we can't is that we had do do an IVF to have the boys and how financially it sunk us....I hate that. I mean seetie I do work and we can't move....daycare, our bills and our house take everything we make...and I am bitter about it somedays too...and others I am just so glad I have John...I have the boys, I have central AC and a
    house that I can dust. It's all compromise right???

    Love u, I get it I do. Xoxo

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM , Anonymous Joannbsocha said...

    Somehow we all survived in small houses. My parents with 5 kids in 1000 sq feet. I believe we are all still close because of it! I always shared a room (didn't know any different) and learned how to share. As for all the stuff kids come with these days--it's silly because kids just want to "play" with what we play with and with us! Bravo for deciding to stay home and putting your dreams (of a bigger house) after their dreams of YOU! :)

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    I often wish that my kitchen were larger too for the same reason as you. I worry that one of these days my little guy is going to get hurt playing there while I cook.

    I would give up my yard if it meant that I could stay home with my kids any day!

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I know I am lucky to be home with them, for real :)

    They do make me nervous though.  I open the oven with extreme caution, saying "stay back! Hot!" to Dylan the whole time.

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 9:19 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You are right, I know!  And thank you for those kind words :)

    I find peace and then hyperventilate about the schools, LOL.  One day/year at a time, right?

     
  • At July 28, 2011 at 9:23 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    See, we are so alike!  I think that no matter what, we are hard wired to want better/more, and sometimes we should just breathe and appreciate what we have.  And I know you DO appreciate it all, because you have a love for life that can't be squashed by wanting a bigger house.  And I do, too, but there are those flashes...So we write it out, and then we feel better :)

     

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