There’s a couch in my living room. Correction –an extra couch in my living room. They have a way of showing up, I guess. Reproducing. Multiplying like those Gremlin creatures from that 1980s movie. In fact, this couch is exactly like one of those little animals that took over that whole city.
This couch isn’t nice and pretty like that first, cuddly Gremlin was that everyone loved. No. This couch is a bad breed, like the creepy Gremlins who ran amuck and broke into stores and things after they…were born?
If you saw the movie, you know what I mean. Someone splashed some water and a hundred evil Gremlins were born and took over the city. They gave that first, sweet little Gremlin a bad name. I don’t recall how that first Gremlin came to be. Probably the stork brought him, like the stork brings all the babies.
Back to this couch.
It’s a dingy, hunter green color and is taking up my living room. Mostly because the living room already has a couch. A nice couch. It also has a love seat, two club chairs, an ottoman, and an end table that I once stood up to my mother-in-law against in order to keep. What can I say? It’s a really nice end table. And I saw it first.
Unlike the rowdy Gremlins though, this couch isn’t so bad. It hasn’t carted off the television or broken any windows anyway. It just sits there, bulky and unassuming right in front of the pellet stove.
I kind of like this couch. It has meaning and is filled with sentimentality that one might not suspect an ordinary, grungy green couch to have. But this couch…it’s been there for us. When we had nothing else, we had this couch.
When you move really far away from everything you’ve ever known and someone else is footing the bill for the moving costs, you don’t have a lot of say in the matter. I mean, you could say you’re not going to go, but assuming that’s not an option –that you’ve already committed- you can’t really say much except ‘thank you’ when the movers come to carefully pack all of your Earthly belongings.
Correction –when the movers come to carefully pack the remaining of your Earthly belongings. Because when someone else is footing the bill to move you far away from everything you’ve ever known, they only allot you so much money. And if you’re like us, you sell off nearly everything you own and still end up in the red. Ooops.
This couch gave us a place to sit. It sat in this living room when not another piece of furniture existed in the house. Unless you count the coffee table that was here, but you can’t really, because it’s frowned upon if you sit on a coffee table. Everyone knows that’s where the coffee sits.
We’ve squished our large family onto this couch to watch movies and reruns of television shows. Our kids have fallen asleep on this couch after hours of video games. They’ve sat on this couch while our youngest passed out Christmas presents in their shiny paper, tied with bows every year for the last four years. Even last year, when we had the new couch in the living room and this couch had been relegated back to the loft for sleepovers and movie nights, we lugged our fabricated Christmas tree up the stairs and set it up. I guess our couch likes Christmas too and maybe the new couch is a Jehovah’s Witness.
And here it sits, this dingy green couch, right in the middle of the living room when I woke up and stumbled out of bed this morning. It was completely unexpected.
The couch cushions are…somewhere. And this couch, is still filled with meaning and purpose.
When your adult son comes home temporarily while he seeks out a new apartment of his own and mentions he doesn’t have any furniture to put in his new place…you give him a couch like this. A couch that’s been there for you and your kids when they were younger.
Truth be told, we were all younger back then. Younger, eager to see what the future would hold. And having no idea we’d be here four years later, older, wiser, and settled. With that same, dingy, green couch in the living room.
Our son had taken it with him last night, strapped into the back of an old Subaru to his apartment a few miles away. His youngest brother had gone with him, helped strap bungee cords around the back end of the couch as it stuck out the hatchback.
Before my husband and I headed off to bed, we were taken aback to see the Subaru in the driveway with the couch still sticking out of the back of it.
“You brought it back,” my husband asked.
“Wouldn’t fit,” our youngest boy called back.
And that was that. I guess sometimes an old couch like that isn’t ready to leave home even if the kids are.
It’s a mixed bag, kids growing up and moving out on their own. I think it is, anyway. On one hand, I’m excited for them and even for myself –to see what life will be like in this new era. On the other hand, it’s possible I’m a closet helicopter mom.
I want to call and say good-night all the time or text them forty-two times a day. I want to offer them help when they don’t ask for it and have to bite my tongue to keep from doing so. At night, I lie in bed, and wonder if they made it home from work at a reasonable hour.
Sure, I want them to have their own lives and do their own great things. I just miss the old days when they were young and cuddly and smiling for the camera. Now, they’re older and tower over me. They cringe when I want to take their picture.
Probably, having kids this age in this stage of their lives is a lot like this dingy, green couch. Only the kids are much better looking and smarter and have limbs and stuff.
Some days they’ll be off on their own and I’ll be caught up in whatever I’m doing. Which means I won’t be helicoptering or worrying or offering unwanted (though certainly appreciated) advice. Other days, I’ll wake up and find them sitting in my living room where I least expected them to be.