I have a collection of at least a dozen inspiration photos for ways to refinish our hand-me-down living room side table. Right now it's covered in scratches, water marks, and a little bit of whatever we ate for breakfast today. I can't wait to sand it down and do something fabulous with it, taking pride in the fact that I created the perfect accent for our living room color scheme.
But you see, that end table is next to the comfiest spot on our favorite couch. It's where my daughter perches her cereal bowl to eat her breakfast while watching her morning cartoons. It's where she sets (and then spills) her cup of juice while she's snuggling next to me during a movie. It's where she draws in her sketchbook- because it's the perfect spot to sit and watch birds visit the bird feeder on our back porch. Those stains, and breakfast remnants, and pen indentations make that spot undeniably "hers."
I know that if I refinish that table, I will become protective over my hard work. It will break her little heart every time I bark at her to sit somewhere else with her cereal. My awe over her bird sketches will be tainted with worry over whether she pressed too hard with her pen or strayed off the page onto my new table.
Part of me wants to be the woman with the amazingly decorated living room, but the reality is that a much bigger part of me enjoys being the Mom that lets her kids LIVE in the living room. Someday I will have a beautiful house filled with amazing things, but for now, I choose one filled with special spots and little reminders that life's too short to always remember to use a coaster.