There were many things I found out when I became a mom decades ago. One unexpected was the reality that my home décor will never be featured in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. Even four years after my youngest moved out, and long after the painted handprints stopped coming into the house, I still find myself exercising my creativity in displaying what my children leave behind. The latest are pictured here…Rufus, my son’s Halloween dog and Gus Gus, my daughter’s Christmas mouse. Since they both are supposedly coveted by the owners who promised to take them home soon, rather than box them up for storage, I posed them in my living room.
Integrating my children’s stuff with my other decorations is not new to me. I began this practice like many mothers, by displaying their handmade art on the refrigerator door and hanging their construction paper loop garlands on the Christmas tree. When they could not have cared less, I shed tears while removing many of their crumpled masterpieces from their backpacks, and salvaged them to show for years to come. I have a special storage box that I used to accumulate their art projects through time. A couple of years ago my dog broke into it and destroyed a dragon that my daughter had made out of an empty egg carton in Pre-K. More than twenty years had passed since she had made it, but it still counts as proof that dogs really do eat homework, and the destruction made me sad.
I do have a rather warped sense of what might be considered normal décor. In my bedroom, I have an Egyptian paper mache mask hanging on the wall that was molded by my son’s face when he was in grammar school. On the back of my stove where many people store salt and pepper shakers, I have my son’s first pair of Rug Rats work boots that he wore as a toddler resting heel to heel. There is also a framed sunflower painting in my guest bedroom that my daughter created as a child, and a beaded key chain is hanging on the bulletin board in my writing space to remind me of the custom jewelry artisan she is today. None of these would fetch a surprise fortune at the Antiques Roadshow, yet the joy they bring me is priceless.
Rufus is the exception. I don’t particularly have any sort of attachment to this skeletal canine, and I’m not entirely sure how he even ended up in my living room. I have noticed that, no matter whether your kids are living with you or not, their stuff sometimes randomly appears at your house. Admittedly, I do have fun repositioning him to relieve my Buffalo winter boredom. I am the one who had him pose here as an herbivore with my house plants. And he has a button that you can push that makes his eyes light up and activates his bark, which is pretty amusing. Still, I wish my son would take him back and place him between the seats of his pickup truck so he can entertain the drive-thru workers, which I believe was his purpose when he purchased him. Even if my son does not have my sentimentality, he definitely has my sense of humor.