I know I’m going to adore our new kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom, but I have to admit it, I’m really enjoying having a smaller house for a time.
In order to remodel we had to downsize by about 30%, and it was actually the 30% that we spent most of our time in. The back half of our house includes a large kitchen, a large laundry room and an enclosed sunporch, which my husband uses as an office. All the kids’ toys were in the laundry room since it’s so big (and we could close the door at the end of the day if we didn’t want to clean it up). And I often did my graphic design work from the kitchen table so as to be close when the kids started yelling about something, as kids do.
So now that all of that is quarantined, we find ourselves in much closer quarters elsewhere. The dining room table starts out as classy breakfast space and then, quickly cleaned, turns into the kids’ new toy playground. Yesterday afternoon my husband and daughter played with her ponies on the couch while he also watched the Penn State game on mute and I read a magazine, all in the same room. Last night our whole family was in the bathroom for 45 minutes, kids playing in the bath while my husband and I did dishes, our clothes-drying rack housing both swimsuits and plates (I knew there was a reason that bathroom is too big).
And with all of this what I’m noticing is not the heated jostle for space that I expected but a kindness, a consideration, even a rise in cuddliness and connection amongst our family (especially the guys).
My son, August, has never been the cuddly sort. Not even as a baby. But I have noticed in the past that he has a lot more patience with himself and is prone to laugh a lot more when he’s gotten some physical affection (hugs and kisses, hair ruffles and smiles) from me. He never initiates it like my daughter does, but, man, does he respond. And in close quarters, those things are happening much more.
I also suspect that without a third of our house to clean and travel through to get from one place to another we’re actually getting more time back, which is kind of funny to think about. If you have a bigger house you have to walk a lot more. It takes 15 steps to put something away instead of 3. Right now I can break down recycling boxes, boil water for tea, get juice from the fridge, and use the microwave by taking only one step in any direction. I’m saving so much time!
So, again, I look forward to the new stuff (a kitchen floor that’s not sinking into the ground, cabinets that aren’t falling apart, walls that don’t leak heat in the winter, and another toilet, THANK GOD for another toilet!) but I’m also enjoying the hidden blessings of togetherness amongst the mess.