When I was growing up we had a room with good furniture in it. I suppose it would be called the formal living room. We never went in there. It was for guests, and special guests at that, not just relatives or neighbors. The sofa in there probably only got sat on a dozen times, ever. I always planned to have a room like that, with pristine furniture just for adults. A haven I could retreat to that my children wouldn’t dare set foot in. A place I could put my nice things and not worry about them being broken. Sometimes, things don’t work out how you plan.
When Sean and I moved into this house six months after getting married I was six months pregnant and we had a futon. Yep, thirty-one years old, and I had a futon. We were married, having a baby, owned our own house, it was time for some grown-up furniture. We bought two couches, one large sectional in a brown microfiber, and one beige pull-out sofa. (Since we don’t have an extra room, and no formal living room, we thought the pull-out would come in handy if we ever had guests.) It took about three months for them to be delivered. They were in place before Samantha joined us, but not by much.
They were lovely, clean and new with nice firm cushions. That lasted until three week old Samantha projectile spit up across all four sections of the sectional. (It was really impressive.) And Sean’s cat decided to sit on the back of one of the sectional cushions, leaving a permanent indent. And the same cat decided to mark her territory by tearing up both arms of the pull-out sofa.
So much for my nice, grown-up furniture. It is now stained with spit-up, chocolate, juice, and who knows what else. At any given moment, if you’re brave enough to put your hand between the cushions, you’ll likely come up with a handful of Cheerios, some raisins, Goldfish crackers, and clumps of cat hair.
I do have a plan to have my good furniture when the kids are older, and it doesn’t involve buying new furniture. Instead of a set of good furniture, I have the good side. I always make sure the cushions are on the sofa with the stained side up. The underside is still pristine. Nice and clean with nary a mark on it. It has never been sat on or spilled on.
Today I cleaned the stained side as best as I could for Ella’s impending birthday party this weekend. I’m always embarrassed by my furniture and worry our friends won’t want to sit on it out of fear of getting dirty. Every time we’re having people over, I am tempted to flip the good side up, just for the day. But I resist. If I do it, I know it will get dirty and stained, and I will never have my nice, grown-up furniture. Instead, I admire it when it’s being cleaned and bide my time, waiting for my kids to get old enough not to spill every time they sit down. I hope that happens before they leave for college.