Without any instructions

Our home is one large open space. The cathedral ceiling looms protectively over one sprawling room providing space for dining, relaxing and cooking. We designed it intentionally to be an oasis of comfort and togetherness.  The only walls separate the main living area from the bedrooms, and even then the two are connected by a wide hallway that maintains the feeling of one space rolling into the next.

Because of this, we spend a lot of time living in close company. At night, I cook dinner companionably chatting with my husband as he entertains the boys. They run wickedly, weaving and giggling around the island that is the heart of the kitchen. Sometimes they’ll sit in our eating nook colouring or playing with play doh, and others they’ll sit a stone’s throw away, alternating between watching a cartoon and exasperating me by climbing all over our furniture.

I stir, chop and sauté, watching as if from the sidelines of a busy sports field, calling out warnings like a coach or, more likely, a referee. I wonder where they came from—these two blond, vivacious growing boys. Though each is as familiar to me as I am to myself, at times they seem so surprising and separate. Long, difficult pregnancies and labours, and months and months of sleep lost to endless nursing, are all but forgotten.

Despite all that we’ve already been through, I am sometimes overwhelmed by their presence. It feels as though they’ve just been placed before me, like whirlwind gifts from God, missing a set of instructions.

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11 thoughts on “Without any instructions

  1. And then other times, you probably can’t remember life without them.

  2. “…like whirlwind gifts from God.” Beautiful.

  3. Love this, Christine. It feels contemplative and wistful both at once. (And I want your floor plan.)

  4. “Whirlwind gifts from God” – that’s just right, Christine.

  5. Justine says:

    I recently moved to a space with a more open floor plan and absolutely love it. No matter where I am or what I’m doing on the main level, I feel like the family is always together even if we are doing our own thing.

    And I loved the last line: “It feels as though they’ve just been placed before me, like whirlwind gifts from God, missing a set of instructions.” – couldn’t agree more.

  6. harrietglynn says:

    Love that – a missing set of instructions. I feel the same way. One the upside, I consider Theo a joy-machine. He squeals with delight and is quick to participate and laugh loudly when he’s out and about. But he wakes up screaming in the night and early morning flatly refusing sleep; routinely rejects eating and is all over and inside every bit of our house, impervious to my begging to “stop,” “get down”, and “noooooooo!”s.

  7. Chantal says:

    I totally get that and I wonder sometimes if it is because I am a mom of boys and since “I” am not a boy I just don’t get them 🙂

  8. Kelly says:

    Your home sounds gorgeous, as does your picture of family. Some days I forget the whirlwind is a gift. Love this reminder.

  9. […] youngest flings Little People and trucks and cars to various corners of the house.  And suddenly the spacious open concept that I have loved so much becomes overwhelming and […]

  10. Amber says:

    I love this one – so evocative. I can really relate to it, actually. Pregnancy, birth and parenting are so surreal, that I often find it impossible to believe I’ve been through it all.

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