Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Had Jesus walked the earth today, he might have added, “or where toilets overflow.”
Faithful readers of this column (hi, Mom!) might have noticed my absence for the past couple months. This is not because the toilet overflowed, although that recent event has created a hurdle in writing today’s column. But life is full of hurdles when one has small children, and I have four—children, not hurdles. I have approximately 18,000 hurdles. If mothering were an Olympic sport, I’d win gold. Well. Probably not gold, but I’d at least get a participation trophy.
But my point.
I’ve not been writing because we moved this summer, and let me just say that moving is a lot of work. This is not headline news—most people know this about moving; it’s neither an unusual or remarkable event. But when YOU are the one who’s moving, and you have a bunch of kids and stuff and it’s been 12 years since your last move, moving feels pretty remarkable. Some of those remarks are inappropriate for print.
It’s been all-consuming, but we’re thrilled with our new house—more space! When we built our last house, we had neither children nor a clue, and we never thought we’d bring four kids home. But we did, and we made it work, but man, it works SO MUCH BETTER in this house.
There’s been some adjustment, though. Our last house was custom built for us, brand spanking new when we moved in. Our new house is over 30 years old, and we are the fourth family to live here. It’s a lovely home, but I’ve been eager to put my stamp on it from the start. Over the past couple months we’ve ripped out carpet and installed new flooring, scraped popcorn ceilings, installed new trim and painted. Not all of these things have happened in all of the rooms. Some things have sort of happened in some rooms, and no things in others, and it’s all a little chaotic. As one project bleeds into another, our home becomes one large construction zone with bedroom furniture in the living room and dining room chairs in the hallway.
But I have a vision, and if I squint really hard, I can sort of see it. Like in our master bedroom with the vintage rug spread over the pretty, new floors my husband and brother put down, and the new poster bed I’m going to paint one day (never). I look at these things and think, “We’re getting there.”
Soon I’ll be able to relax. The hours on Pinterest will have been worth it, and my home will be just how I’m imagining it—serene and peaceful, with smiling children who never fight, and relaxed get-togethers on the back deck under a string of twinkle lights.
And then the toilet overflowed in our master bathroom. The water seeped under the walls and under our new bedroom floor. My pretty floor is puckering, and mold and funk are sure to follow. My husband is ripping it out today. Everyone is grumpy and bickering.
“Do not store up…treasures on earth,” Jesus said. He also said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So much of my heart went into choosing that floor. My heart has been mired in paint samples and Pinterest ideas, all consumed with a house that has become my treasure. And now my treasure is soaked in toilet water. It’s pretty gross.
Thankfully the mold hasn’t set in just yet.
It’s good to be back.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)