Don’t forget where you came from but never lose sight of where you are going.
A kitschy print adorns a shelf. Around it, a gerber multi tool, given to me over a decade ago by my mother. A pair of brass knuckles I picked up a few years back. Three different shot glasses, all emblazoned with the Jaegermeister logo. A shelf below holds the ashes of my mother accompanied by the little card they handed out at her wake. Next to her tiny memorial are two pictures and a card. The pictures, one of each twin, are from their birth when the NICU nurse put my wife’s build-a-bear’s glasses on the twin’s tiny little faces and bought us prints we still laugh at whenever we look at three years later. A card is tucked in next to the photos. With Ezra a healthy in and out of the hospital baby, he never got to meet the wonderful nurses who work the NICU of the local hospital. His spot on the shelf holds his information card, the one emblazoned with the words, ‘It’s a boy!’ across the top, followed by all his birth information.
The final shelf holds a few odds and ends. A picture of my wife and I from a trip to Boston Aquarium right after the boys were born. An empty shooter in the shape of a sugar skull. A Deadpool figurine I got recently and a Harry Potter tribute 9 3/4’s luggage tag. Oh, and a metallic box I used to hold every little important piece of myself in.
Of everything on the shelving next to my newly acquired Wri-ter’s nook, only the Deadpool figurine and kitschy print are under a year old. Every other item on the shelf has tethered itself to my soul at some point beyond a year, some beyond a decade.
Some of the stuff on the shelves usually never sees the light of day. The metallic box is new to being so out in the open after so long a life under beds, in bags, or buried away from the light of the world. Sure, rust has taken it’s toll on ol’ Henry P., but it still shines, occasionally catching light in the same way it did that Christmas a lifetime ago.
I keep going back to the print though. The quote, which I started this with, encompasses a creed I have tried to follow in recent years. I bought the print the morning after moving into this new place. It being one of six prints I bought that morning. As I carefully placed it on the shelf, I looked around at other places to hang prints.
I joke to Diana. ‘I am nesting!’ I tell her, as I fly room to room slightly moving furniture, asking her opinion on what decor to adorn the walls with.
“Can we hang the words PUNK GREW UP in the living room right here? I would really like that.” I ask her, bracing for my idea to be shot down.
“Yeah, that will look awesome.” She says, as she smiles back at me. She’s never seen me this excited about a place. After three kids, a dog, and three other dwellings I find myself finally ‘nesting’. I have never seen me like this either.
Long have I felt homesick. Too long I yearned for something I’ve never even been sure of having.
After three kids, a dog, and three other dwellings, I finally get home decor. As I hang print after kitschy print, I remember the walls of our previous living spaces. The walls so bare save for a few odds and ends Diana hung up. Never anything new. Never items bought specifically for those walls. Paintings and pictures removed from walls of her previous home, hung in a desperate attempt to make a place to lay your head into a bonafide home.
I never even put that much of an effort in. I never went out to buy prints or clocks or mirrors to hang on walls that felt foreign to me.
The first night here, running on a few hours of sleep and a lot of hours moving, I zipped around pointing to blank walls we, no- I needed to prettify with a touch of our family. At work that night, on my three hours of sleep, I pictured the house, decorating it in my mind. After my eight hour shift, there I was, up and down the Home aisles of Walmart at six in the morning, energized and filling the cart with things to fully complete our new house’s conversion to home.
Shelves, a nook, and gimmicky prints are only the surface of this residence. My connection with this place runs much deeper than the things I excitedly furbish it with. I am nesting, cozying in for what will hopefully be many happy years making memories in my family’s… in my own first true home.