As our home enters its adolescence, my husband and I can no longer ignore the facts: it is about time we shore up that squeaky joist and address those less than attractive signs of shabbiness that deferred maintenance and a steady stream of children, cats and dogs have imparted onto our dwelling. For starters there is fading paint on every paintable surface, then there's the bathroom linoleum scarred by a teenage girl's curling iron (thank god she didn't burn the house down), and let's see ... both tub faucets leak, all the doors creak, the tile needs caulking, the toilet seals need replaced ...
"Make me a list," my husband interrupted.
"You mean, like a detailed honey-do list?" I gleefully replied.
"Sure, now that the cabin project is finished I have a little time ..."
He is now the proud owner of a 53 page, annotated, and fully illustrated document entitled "A Few Minor Home Repairs for the Most Handsome, Capable, Strong, Smartest Man That I Know and That I Love and That I Cherish Ever so Much."
He said he'd get right on it ...
Some of the deepening character is endearing. I love the way the sun and the busy footsteps of a family coming and going have mellowed and marred the once pristine wood floor. Then there are the colorful flecks of paint from projects past scattered here and there, closets stuffed with memories and memorabilia all serving as a reminder that our house is not only a piece of depreciating real estate, but a home.
Lately though, I've sensed a new development around the house. For a long time I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. It was a certain subtle lankiness that drew my attention: a sharp edge where previously there had been softness and comfort in the status quo. It wasn't from the house, it was next to me on the couch, poking me in the ribs with bony elbows -- bombarding me with me questions.
"Why are girls so weird sometimes?"
"What's the difference between space and cyber space?"
"What do you think of particle theory?"
"Why do your reading glasses have lines in them?"
"Can we get a piano?"
"Can I ride the snowmachine to my new best friend's house by myself?"
"Please can I?"
"Can I, huh?"
My mind swirled I attempted to answer his questions.
"Are you having a senior moment?" he asks as he waits for my replies.
I am not ready for a senior moment I say.
Inwardly, I puzzle over my latest profoundly ridiculous statement. How could I possibly believe life is something one gets ready for? It happens, as they say, while we are busy making other plans.
I know that before I am ready, his curiosities will eventually entice him to go much further than our cozy little home and beyond. I know we will have to let him go and let him grow.
I'm confident that we will eventually get to finishing the honey-dos, at least a few of then. For now, we have other important foundations to lay.
Every time I get the chance, I will kiss our boy. I will hug him and I will tell him that I love him. While he will still let me, I will reach out to hold his hand when we are in a busy parking lot.
When he does go off on his adventures, I will remind him that although he will be a teenager before I blink my faltering eyes, he will never be too grown up to kiss his mom and give her a hug goodbye ...
Then I will add, be careful not to leave any bruises when you hug your dad, as that handsome house he lives in is getting old.
Jacki Michels lives in Soldotna with her husband Ken and their youngest son, Patrick.
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