Dad Decorations

As I look around my house something is missing. A panache, a refinement, a calm provided by lovely surroundings.

I’ve been thinking lately just how void of decoration my house is. Most walls are barren and there is no large vase with fake cattails to greet you when you walk in the door.

The carpets, which were beautiful when we moved in three years ago, are now at least 3 shades darker despite occasional cleaning, signifying that the home doesn’t just lack decoration, it’s screaming for better upkeep.

In fact, here’s a (probably partial) list of what it currently needs:

  • Scrape and repaint the deck after replacing a few boards
  • Caulk the backsplash in the kitchen
  • Fix the sprinklers—been without them for three summers now, should probably do that
  • Clean the walls, repaint some of them
  • Repaint chipped paint from the return air register that cracked when I pulled it off
  • Repaint the hole where Josh sent the skateboard into the wall—currently have a patch there
  • Print, frame, and hang the picture of us in Florida
  • Print, frame, and hang the picture of us in California
  • Hang the $12 picture of Paris from Walmart
  • Decorate other parts of the house—like I even know what I would do
  • Get room-darkening curtains
  • Fix the blinds in Jadyn’s room
  • Spray the third round of weeds
  • Trim bushes in the back yard
  • Figure out a permanent solution to where Josh should sleep (got rid of bunk beds, but then changed rooms and now the kids want beds—they were wanting, yes wanting, to sleep on couches and the floor instead—so now there’s not enough room for Josh in his and Derek’s room)

Why is there so much to do? Because some of this isn’t currently within my wheelhouse. And because I’m gone so much. And because I’m lazy in some things. And because I'm letting the kids learn how to take care of things through natural consequences, which can be a long and sometimes painful process.

When I’m home, the kids need to be taken here, there, and everywhere; there are other commitments; I have to shop and do laundry; and relaxing sometimes actually sounds good, so working a project can be very challenging and disheartening.

Also, it’s been my experience that each project takes hours more than it should and causes such frustration that I’m no good for the kids. I just want to hang with them in the precious few hours we have!! Yet again, doing projects together would probably be a great way to spend time together and teach them (or have them teach me) at the same time.

Sometimes I think why not hire it out? Then I remember, all dollars are already accounted for and I can only do so much at a time, while also remembering that each time I have a little extra money in my pocket there are a lot of ways it flies right out the window! Water heater going out and causing a flood and unexpected expenses were the latest two. PLUS, I have retirement and church missions to worry about. Heck, I should probably start a savings account! Just kidding, I did that last week.

Where am I going with all of this?

Although the house is void of decoration and in need of some upkeep, what it doesn’t lack is the vibe and happiness in my heart that four beautiful children provide (the oldest child lives on her own). It doesn’t lack for humor, for dancing, for intelligent children who figure things out. It doesn’t lack for the peace that comes from having a family.

I don’t have a beautifully appointed home. I don’t have a boat, a fancy car—well, that’s debatable, Mr. Milkowski, a Toyota Camry is luxurious in some areas—or many of the other toys of the world. Sometimes I feel unsuccessful because of that.

Then I look at my kids, hear them laugh, hug and kiss them, and look at the decorations I do have in my office; pictures and notes from them. Then I’m happy with the life I’ve got.

In those moments, I know exactly how blessed I am, especially when I look at what I do have adorning the front entry way—the wet/dry vac I bought when the water heater broke. I should probably move that.