Saturday, April 30, 2005

Perpetual Immobility

So my grandmother was famous for a few things. She was a wonderful cook of pretty much everything, and it is to my detriment that I never asked to learn from her. She was also well-known for her cleanliness. She cleaned thoroughly, and many times a day. Her house was always spotless, even after cooking a large meal.

The other thing she was known for was her tendency to rearrange her furniture. Pretty much every time we went to her house, the furniture in the living room was arranged differently. It almost seemed like she had a new house. Even down to the things hanging on the wall, there was an entirely new look. She had lots of little pieces such as end tables and chairs and lamps, so the variations seemed to be quite endless.

It wasn't until I became a stay at home mother that I finally understood my grandmother's compulsion for change. Being at home and seeing the same items in the same place began to bother me after a while. When Mr. Personality was an infant with colic, I felt trapped. If I went out in public and all people saw was my screaming infant, they would judge me, and at the time I couldn't handle it. So this little townhouse became a type of prison, a comfy prison mind you, but the invisible bars felt strong and immutable all the same. As a retiree who did not drive, I imagine that she had similar feelings.

Now that Mr. Personality is older and colic-free, I get out much more than I did in that first year. But some days the outlines of the bars are more discernable than others. I still sense the stirring of a yearning for things to be different. Just for me to wake up and not find the rocking chair in the corner. To find that the sofa has switched places with the entertainment center. Anything to help erase the daily dose of deja vu that happens every time I blearily tumble out of the bedroom in the morning. I am sure there is comfort to be found in being able navigate your house with your eyes closed, but sometimes I desperately want to bump into something because I didn't know it was there.

Is this restlessness something that my Grandmother passed on to me? Is it an integral part of my DNA to be unable to appreciate the relative comforts of sameness and routine? Or is it wholly mine, this occasional vague sense of dissatisfaction that is hard to name? Surely the guilt that comes with the feeling, chiding myself on how good I have it compared to so many others is mine. How ungrateful I must be to want something different than what I have.

But I can't help it. The change does not have to be a big one, I reason with myself. I have the sudden urge to move the coffee table. As an homage to my grandmother, perhaps I'll settle with the floor lamps and see what happens in the morning.


Anvilcloud said...

You're normal. Variety is the spice. Routine is the basis of the diet, however. Try to find little ways to add a dash of spice here and there.

Cuppa said...

Hope you didn't bump into the lamp this morning!!

After reading your blog this morning I asked myself where I fit in on the "wanting to change things" scale. Some things in my house never change and others are changing all the time.

One thing that I do change all the time is what is at the front door or the "theme" of the room. The large pieces of furniture stay in one spot, and the lamps never change,but the theme changes with the seasons.

Flower arrangements, accent pieces, knick knacks all change. They get packed away and out of sight, and then when they come out again I feel like I have something new, even if it is years old.

I even change the mugs in my kitchen. Spring flowers are on the ones I use in the spring, summer flowers for summer, something with earth tones for fall, winter scenes in winter. Strange how something as small as using a different mug in the morning can give you a bit of a lift.

As I sit here typing this I think of Mother Nature and how she loves changes too. Look at how she changes her outfits and her home with the changing of the seasons. We are in good company and come by our desire to change things honestly don't we?

I find major change hard to do though. I don't like the upheaval of re-doing my kitchen that is for sure, but I think I am going to love the new look. I just hope I can find things again. My niece asked me for sugar for her coffee yesterday morning and I couldn't find the sugar bowl. I still don't know where in the world I put it. Somewhere in the middle of the muddle.

Well, I have rambled on for long enough and this comment is rather lengthy so I had better end it here.

Enjoy the change-ups thrown your way today, if nothing else, they make life interesting.

Heather said...

My mother was JUST like your grandmother, and I seem to have inherited it too. Since I work away from home, I don't notice it much, but when I AM home for longer periods of time (eg. maternity leave), I need to rearrange the furniture now and then.