It is 6pm on Friday night. I am sitting in my living room. Twigs with twinkly lights are…well…twinkling next to the fireplace. Candles are on. I have a glass of wine in my hand. The boys, exhausted after a full-on half term, are flaked out in the family room watching a film. I’m pretty bloody contented right now.
This living room thing is new. Until a couple of weeks ago it was a playroom . No sofa, no TV, and shed loads of batman paraphernalia. I only used to walk into it to break up the usual arguments “he called me poo head”, “but he was trying to kiss me”. My beloved living room was long gone. And my living room, and me, were sad.
I fell in love with the living room when I viewed the house, hormonal and pregnant with C. The previous owners clearly had WAY more money than us, and had filled the room with gorgeous sofas and beautiful mahogany furniture. I gasped as I walked in. I knew I wanted the house there and then because of that lovely room with copies of House and Home laid out on the coffee table. Of course when we moved in the living room would never look as nice. But it was still lovely, even with our crappy furniture in it.
Two months later our lives changed in a way I could never imagine. Out beautiful living room was now filled with rolled up dirty nappies and muslins covered in sick. I spent a lot of time sat on the sofa, blinking vacantly at old reruns of Sex and the City at 3am, feeding, feeding and feeding. I began to resent that room. I felt like a prisoner to that room and the crying baby. I think the living room realised I didn’t have any space in my life to love it. So it stopped caring about its appearance and developed a layer of dust. And went to sleep.
Another baby came along pretty quickly, bringing another few months of bring trapped in that room day and night. Some more dust gathered. But then, as soon as you could say ‘if I have to walk around that room rocking a crying baby one more time I will scream.. And cry..,’ it stopped and the Toddler Years arrived. Perhaps the living room felt a little bit of hope that things would change. If anything, things got worse for my lovely living room. The fireplace was now covered in horrible protective sponge to stop teetering toddlers cracking their head open on it, and all candles and twinkly twigs were shoved in the dark, cold garage. The carpet was barely visible under a sea of Happyland tat. The living room had well and truly lost its soul.
Things went from bad to worse for the living room. We built an extension with a whole new living space. The new family room welcomed in a big new sofa and a fancy TV. The living room, with it’s second hand bulky tv, and tatty fabric sofa just couldn’t compete. We spent no time in there.
The nail in the living rooms coffin came when I woke up one day, clearly feeling a bit bonkers, and decided that the sofa in the living room was too old and musty and had to go. Right now. Oh and the TV for that matter. I reversed the car up to the front door and in a super human show of strength carried the sofa out and shoved it into the back of the car. Along with the TV. I then looked defiantly back at Mr A who was watching me bemused, thinking I had gone completely mad again. He agreed to take them to the dump. He clearly realised that today I was a bit bonkers and arguing with me would be futile. The living room was empty so I decided that it should now become the playroom. Genius idea. I never have to see toys or children again. By the time Mr A returned from the dump, all the toys, and children, had been deposited in there. He looked at the now toy filled living room and looked sad. I was sad too. And so was the living room, I could tell. That was a year ago.
A few weeks ago, as the weather turned cold, Mr A and I found ourselves lamenting over the loss of our living room. The family room made be all modern, with swish roof light and fancy TV, but cosy it is not. I realised then that I missed the living room more than I let on. And surprisingly so did Mr A. He then uttered four words that was music to my ears; “use the credit card”. I didn’t need to be told twice. Spending on the credit card is my specialist subject.
Before he could change his mind, two sofas were ordered along with a fancy new TV. I bought paint and painted the living room ON MY OWN (yes, really). I bought cushions (too many in Mr A’s opinion) and painted canvases to match them (years of watching Changing Rooms was coming to fruition). And last of all, I rescued the twinkly twigs and candles from where they were dumped in the garage during the Toddler Years.
My living room is at last a grown up room again. In fact I think I love it more than I did when I moved in. With the Dark Days over, the children are old enough to know not to draw on the cushions or pull at the twinkly twigs. They also know better than to disturb mummy when she’s sneaked into the living room with a glass of wine at 6pm on a Friday night.
So let’s raise a glass to the return of the living room. If the living room could talk I know it would say it was happier than ever. And do you know what? So am I.