This weekend was a bit of a big deal for us as a couple, or even as a family I suppose you could say. If you’ve followed me for the past few months, you will no doubt have heard me moan (a little bit maybe) about the struggles of renovation work, especially when you time them with pregnancy.
I remember the day I bought this house, it was the 4th January 2013. And I remember it finally going through and feeling elated when the keys were in my hand, cold and full of promise. There was a lot of work to be done. My whole family clubbed round to lug boxes in, clean, rebuild furniture, and help me mind a then seven month-old Bill. It was a wild and busy time, and back then, I didn’t care what state the house was in, because it was our home. And I felt so lucky.
I have to say, in the years since, I have stopped appreciating that feeling. As you do sometimes. Where you start to notice the cracks and the shabby parts. And then you start to want everything ‘perfect’. The funny thing is, it’s not even been a year since Mark was added to the mortgage and we released equity to make this house our dream home in the first place. Back then, I remember going for meals and drawing our dream home sketches on a napkin, looking at Pinterest for building inspiration, while we ate olives and drank Prosecco. And now we’re here and boy, how our lives are different.
This weekend, I woke on Saturday, without my little boy around. He was with his dad, and I knew I had a quiet day ahead, as Mark had football and wanted to see his mum, as he rightfully should on a weekend like the one we’ve just had. We woke and nipped to the garden centre, to spoil our mums, and I was enjoying being outside, because the unexpected snow, combined with my clumsy pregnant ways, had meant I’d been pretty much house-bound. I remember holding Mark’s hand as we walked around and secretly planning the rest of my day without him.
Because, I had nothing else to do, and I wanted to surprise him.
I had planned, somehow, to get the flat-packed, unopened wardrobe from our kitchen, up into the nursery, on my own, and build it, so I could finally sort this little girl’s bedroom, which was full to the brim with unsorted items, clothes and boxes.
But you realise pretty quickly when something is too heavy for you and your bump gets in the way.
My parents popped round, with a gorgeous little romper for this tiny girl in the summer, and to get my mum’s Mother’s Day present, as she and my dad had plans with my grandparents on Mother’s Day itself.
What started out as a fleeting visit, ended up with all three of us clearing her nursery, building a wardrobe, sorting rubbish, putting things away, and, before long, they were on their way to the tip with a car full of our junk.
I couldn’t believe what we had achieved. Or how long they had stayed to help me. I wouldn’t have made much of a dent in that work on my own.
And so, on Saturday night, Mark pulled into the driveway to find me hanging out of her bedroom window. “The door’s open!” I shouted, and grinned at him. He looked puzzled and I remember feeling really giddy and smoothing out my top over my bump, as I heard the front door close and his feet ambling up the stairs.
He walked in and his face dropped. I knew he was torn between hugging me and telling me off. “I had help,” I said. “Granny and Po?” he replied. And I nodded.
And so it was then he bent down and kissed his daughter bump and I felt so…happy.
It’s been a long time coming to get to this point. Our bedroom still isn’t done. It’s cracked, has mould in parts, a dusty carpet that no hoover can tame, and things that don’t belong in there trying to trip us up on a daily basis. But to have our children’s rooms complete makes us feel so happy.
We spent Sunday fitting these gorgeous cordless blinds from Swish (more about them in another post). And it was brilliant to see Bill’s room completely finished. And this little girl’s room just an hour or so away from being done, once her mother finds the time to dither over finishing touches, like those stars I need to hang from the ceiling.
We’d like to achieve a few more things before she arrives. The kitchen cabinets – the paint’s right there. The kitchen ceiling – still plaster bare. The water stains in the living room from the leak. The conservatory that is piled high with things to sort, throw or sell. And the skip we promised we’d buy next time we get paid. And our bedroom, maybe, if we manage it.
But it felt like we were almost there this weekend.
I felt ready to have my daughter. I felt like it was all worth it.
I felt really proud of us.