It took my husband and me months of contemplating and budgeting to decorate the home we reside in. Few years back, we had moved into a remarkably small apartment as newlyweds, a place chosen based on availability on a short notice and a location that had a close proximity to both our workplaces.
That was our first home. A few rooms scattered about, brought to life with curtains and rugs and mirrors after the necessities had been taken care of. Where couples run about town exploring markets for their dream weddings, we had double the chores - dashing from saree shops to furniture outlets, negotiating with jewelers and carpenters and making hefty deposits to event managers and then the landlord. It was an apartment with the bare minimum, just enough for two youngsters to play house. A kitchen with hardly enough pots and pans. A bedroom that harboured every single thing we possessed. A living room that was left to be organised once we settled in, but remained neglected for the lack of time, right resources or motivation.
After living like "married-bachelors" for three years, it was time to grow up. I conceived. We needed a bigger flat, in the same area as my workplace that would also be closer to my parents' home on whom I'd soon be heavily relying for babysitting.
My husband took his extremely nauseous and light headed wife to look for just the right apartment that ticked off the basics on our list. After several disappointments we spotted a building we had missed before and reluctantly decided to take a look before resigning from the hunt. Once in, we knew we were done searching. Quite the right size for our growing family, perfectly located, flooded with sunlight all around and a beautiful view of a green field across the bedroom - we were sold.
We knew we had to get everything organised while I was still physically functioning. From Pinterest to boutique shops- we looked for inspirations for furniture decors that would be a worthy investment and would be appropriate for a rented property. My husband laboured tirelessly while I did my best given the obstacles my then fetus so vehemently provided. Bit by bit, it all came together and we finally had a proper home. There were still things left that would be added in later years, but at that time, we were ready. Ready to welcome a baby into our newly assembled abode.
The look of the apartment started to change the moment the baby arrived. All the calculations we had put in behind the placement of the furniture in our bedroom literally went out the window as we struggled to find a perfect spot for a crib, a rocker, a new cupboard to hold all baby essentials, etc. In a month's time, every pretty little accessory I had brought to adorn the nooks and corners of the house were replaced by one baby item or the other. Once the baby started crawling, out came the baby proofing kits to add pizzazz all around the house.
By the time we had our second baby, the house had been swallowed by things that are exclusively used by crawling, drooling, babbling entities.
I remember my colleague, who had also been brave enough to raise "two under twos", told me after the birth of my first child not to be bothered by the mess while there were growing children in the house. At that time, I had thought she was being kind and telling me I had bigger priorities at hand than crinkle-free bedsheets and aligned cushions or neatly folded laundry. Three years and two children later, I get it. "Do NOT be bothered!" Meaning- Just forget it. Don't even try. There simply isn't any point.
Still, the woman that my mother had spent years trying to mold me into, despite knowing failure is imminent, wakes up every morning and attempts to make the house somewhat livable. I fold up freshly laundered tiny t-shirts and shorts which will get soiled in a few hours' time. I try gathering up toys all over the house and neatly packing them up in the cute baskets I had bought, foolishly thinking that is where it will all remain.
Fortunately, now that all vases, crystals and lamps have been sheltered inside cupboards for safekeeping, not much has remained to be dusted. There's a fresh new spot, brand new mark, stubborn little scribble on the carpets and walls every morning. There is never enough space or time for everything to be orderly arranged. At this point, we just pray guests inform us hours ahead before arriving, giving us time to appear somewhat civilized.
Seeing two tiny humans develop new skills and create a beautiful sibling bond over towering piles of building blocks, muddled food, baby-proofed windows, brings a sense of contentment
Occasionally, I look around my house in dismay, unable to fathom how I function in this towering mess every day. I wonder how soon the children will learn to be organised and let the house be. I can barely let the thought stew in my mind when my trance gets broken by excited screams and naughty squeals. I spot them giggling in immense glee after dropping the cushions I had just plumped up, curiously following the ball they have unintentionally aimed at the freshly stacked books, clapping in excitement as they upturn the box of Lego for the umpteenth time, and I smile. I beam in joy to be so utterly blessed, to be surrounded with so much love, to witness memories being built.
My husband and I put an apartment together for comfort and convenience. We added everything we thought it needed and we tried to make it look good. And it did. It was nice and pleasant. Until the children came along and added what two naive individuals had missed. They poured joy and laughter into every corner. Every night when both our troublemakers have fallen asleep, we tally everything that had been broken or misplaced or vanished in the house throughout the day by the little miscreants. What begins with sighs as we grumble, ends up in laughter when recalling the witty comebacks by the elder one and proud beams while remembering the new skills displayed by the baby.
A clueless couple who had finally come around to having a decent dwelling is now daily shown new ways of disruption. No one could prepare us for this chaotic, cluttered living arrangement. Being engulfed in an ever-growing mess amid tiny hugs and delightful toothy smiles. Seeing two tiny humans develop new skills and create a beautiful sibling bond over towering piles of building blocks, muddled food, baby-proofed windows, brings a sense of contentment that not even the most beautifully decorated, magazine cover worthy house could bring.
So this mess? Yes, I am okay with this mess. After all, this mess and its instigators are what make life a little less mundane every day.