I truly believed that starting this painting project the week before Halloween would mean that I'd be done well before the holidays and feeling festive and rejuvenated in my freshly painted kitchen. That was when I thought it would be a weekend project. Maybe two weekends max.
We are now on Sunday of our seventh week.
I'm hoping to lay primer down today.
It's been an interesting. It's been revealing. It's taught me a little more about who I am today, as a mom, as opposed to six years ago pre-children, or even a couple of years ago, with new children.
Where I live, the first response I get when I say that I'm painting my kitchen is, "Ooh - You're remodeling your kitchen?!" When I get a little deeper into it, the response is, "Oh, you're doing it yourself?!" When I reveal that, in fact, it's not even really my house, that we rent, people just think that I'm crazy. "Why are you doing this?!" they say. "Why doesn't the landlord do it?"
My first thought is, "The landlord did do it - Without primer!"
Truthfully, six years ago, I was still pretty concerned with what's right - what's fair. I still am, about bigger things - global things - things that don't affect me directly, but that I'm tied to indirectly. Six years into child rearing however, regarding icky mundane household jobs that nobody likes to do, I'm finding I have more of a mom stance. Life's not fair, these jobs have to be done, just do it and get it over with.
This is not to say that over the last few weekends of sanding, with paint dust covering my face, body and every surface of my house that I haven't done my share of grumbling, "Stupid landlords. Who doesn't use primer when painting over glossy paint." Or gasping, "I'm not sure I can do this anymore. Why won't this end?" But, I was reminded, in my most righteous pitying moment, that we're all human. We make mistakes, we fix them and we move on. Case in point, the day I was feeling most indignant, sure that I myself would never have been so ridiculous as to paint without primer, my neighbor called and brought to my attention that I'd forgotten to feed their cat while they were out of town. That was humbling! (For all of you animal lovers ready to drop my feed, the cat was fine. They always leave an overflowing bowl of dry food, an enormous bowl of water, and the wet food I put out is always untouched when I return to change it the next day.) I was however deeply embarrassed, but it was an honest reminder that we all make mistakes. All of us.
That phone call was also a wake up call to show me how consumed I'd become in this project. I couldn't even remember the conversation we'd had regarding them going out of town, but I knew we'd had it. That was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and that's when I knew I had to recognize that this wouldn't be done by Thursday. I had to get realistic, make room for our feast and swallow my pride and accept that my house might not be perfect but it didn't really matter. The food was great, the company even better, and conceding to good enough was very refreshing.
Considering it's now birthday season as well as the holiday season in my household, I'm having to carry this lesson with me. I'm hoping to get the painting started today, but I still have half of the sixteen cabinet doors to sand, and put back up, and it may just take a while. C'est la vie.
I used to be the queen of short cuts, so yes in fact, it could have been me, in the past, painting without primer. I also used to give up on projects that took too long, were too much hassle, convincing myself I'd get back to them another time. Now, with children, I'm learning to do things right the first time so that they don't need to be done again, and also to finish what I start. I may not like it, it may be hard, but it needs to get done. But, I'm also being realistic about my expectations of perfection. The molding will not be perfectly stripped and sculpted. Reminding myself that it must come to an end, I also remind myself that this paint job is going to be great compared to the last and it's an old house. It'll have glitches, the important part is that it sticks.
Last and not least, I've learned a lot about my family. Children are resilient. They don't really care that the functional kitchen is now in the living room. They just skip around it. They do however care about whether they're getting enough attention. I've had to take major breaks from my hyper focus to make sure that I read to my kids, swing them on the swing. I've learned (what I already more or less knew) that Brad is not a handy man. Just looking at the paint scraper makes him anxious, but he is a phenomenal father and has taken the boys out all weekend, every weekend for the last six weeks and shown them a great time. What I'm most looking forward to after all this is getting to actually join them. They've been exploring the creeks near our house and having an amazing time.
Last but not least, I've been really putting my yoga practice to the test, something that I haven't talked about much since May, but that I've really immersed myself in over the past several months. It's helping me with patience, endurance and strength. Throughout this project I have been repeating the words of my teacher, that we can't fully appreciate our successes without putting in the effort. (But even she says there's a point when enough is enough.)
O.K. Back to my painting, but, before I go, I just want to add that I did break away for a few hours yesterday to be VERY, very, spoiled! I'll tell you more about that later this week...
Hope the rest of you are healthy and well and enjoying the holiday season. Please be good to yourselves and give yourself a break if you need to. Others will appreciate all you do for them this season, but they will also be happy with good enough.