I felt like a photographer for Better Homes and Gardens or something, taking pictures of this room today. All I needed was some children in immaculate, matching outfits playing some educational but previously unused game on the floor, and a vase of hydrangeas on the coffee table. How does every single home "happen" to have fresh hydrangeas readily available? Or is there a special hydrangea van that drives along to all the magazine shoots?
I'm not sporting any special flower arrangements or carefully groomed children today, just my living room as we see it most days, and as we live in it during so many hours of those days. Apartment living affords little room for basements or toy rooms, so we end up doing most things together, sprawled all over this space.
I suppose that's why they are called "living" rooms. You do an awful lot of living there.
Sometimes it drives me crazy that I can't have company over and send the kids to run wild in the basement, or hang my laundry (on humid, rainy, or extremely cold days) in a room with that title, but then again we do end up being together more often than we might otherwise. Even when someone is reading, or on the computer, or trying to build a fort, it all ends up being within conversation length away.
And I like the idea that, just as each person is represented here by their well-used and most favored objects... their books or superhero outfit or box of diaper wipes, so too are the places we've been as we've begun to make our way around this world.
My husband's parents are beginning the task of packing up their life of twenty plus years in another land, and moving it halfway across the world. In a move like that, the reality is that most things get left behind, given away to others or sold for pocket change. I've done this once before, with far less than twenty years behind me, and if I ever have to do it again I can imagine that the process of weeding through these things, these memory laden objects or things that simply have passed the years alongside you, like an old but silent friend, will not be a light task.
Sometimes you must say goodbye. Saying it with care and with thanks seems an important thing to do.
They were a part of your life after all.