After gentle wet-nosed prodding by an adorable ears pinned back Olive, I rolled out of bed this morning and let her out to do her thing, and fed her. It was much too early to be completely up, and there was enough natural light in our bedroom inviting a climb back under the sheets to read a little. Currently, I'm reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a book that the New York Times called, "a diabolically well-packaged, highly readable screed ostensibly about the art of obsessive parenting." When this book first came on the scene, it made quite a raucous. Even Time magazine jumped on the bandwagon giving some ink time to the book. I'm half-way through and am loving every page of it! I'm starting to think that perhaps my Cuban mother must have some Chinese in her blood. While not as militant as Amy Chua, my mom was definitely strict about the way she wanted things done. She never rejected a handmade gift (Chua does), but she had high standards as to how she wanted the bathroom cleaned, the dishes washed, the bookshelves dusted, and our rooms tidied. Anyhow, I digress...back to this morning.
I was in bed reading for a bit, enjoying the serene quality of the morning, when I stopped to stretch and change positions. Big Red stirred beside me, still wrapped like a burrito, and Olive was curled up on her too-expensive memory foam L.L. Bean dog bed (yes, this dog is MADLY loved). I breathed in deeply and found myself comforted by the smell. It was familiar. You know what I'm talking about. Everyone knows the smell of their bedsheets, sometimes as determined by the detergent used. Whatever ours is, its lovely and comforting. For the moment the piles of clothes (mostly Big Red's) weren't bothersome, and the fact that things weren't super tidy was alright. I was just happy to be where I was. This was our little house! In our little bedroom I was permeated by a sense of overwhelming peace. I leaned over, gave Big Red a hug and asked if he wanted some coffee. He garbled something to the effect of yes, and so I made my way down the hallway, passing an Olive hairball poised ready to roll like a tumbleweed - all I could do was smile. This disastrous mess of a house (probably not truly disastrous - but I see it as so - thanks to the rearing of my Cuban/Chinese mother) was mine, and I had to momentarily bypass the peanut gallery cleaning crew in the back of my mind, and acknowledge how content it made me.
I just finished a unit on transcendentalism with my students. They learned that the transcendentalist were self-reliant, free-thinking, nonconforming and had a reverence for nature. Would Emerson and Thoreau chastise me for the reverence I hold towards my home? It is a material object, and they were definitely into transcending materialism. What if I could argue that it was less about the chocolate walls and rad pear green couch that I loved so dearly, but more about the energy found within the house? Who am I kidding, I love our decor. I like the pictures, the frames, the funky green clock I found at Urban Outfitters. I love the antique typewriter Big Red and I purchased in Santa Rosa, CA, while on a road trip. I love it all - all these things. Okay, fine. It's clear I won't be inducted into the transcendentalist hall of fame any time soon. That's cool. But - let me just point out that I love the heartbeat of my house, too. Specifically two that contribute to it's daily pulse.
Big Red and Olive, unequivocally, make all the things that much better.