"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Making changes to the nest

As a fairly newly-married couple, my husband and I have been enjoying lots of aspects of newly-married life. One of those things is making what was HIS (and her) house feel like OUR home. As part of that process, we purchased a few small things early on that we both loved - a luxurious throw-rug for our lounge room, a few candles, lamps, a mirror, some lovely frames for displaying enlarged photos from our Paris honeymoon - you know the sorts of things.

We've also slowly been getting rid of some of our history - things that we each brought to the marriage from our "old" marriages. Items purchased by my ex-husband and me, or my husband and his ex-wife. More and more these things seemed like they didn't belong in our home, as our desire to "start afresh" and create our own style increased.

Sorting, purging and redesigning
Purging the past can be such a cathartic experience. Over the last few years we've both sorted through many boxes of "stuff", and have experienced the incredibly freeing feeling of throwing said "stuff" out, albeit along with some pangs of sadness and loss along the way. Two households into one just doesn't fit, but it takes time to decide "yours or mine", and sometimes it also takes a while for each of us to realise that we no longer need that thing that we once thought we'd keep forever.

We bought our first piece of furniture together a few years ago, and this allowed us to get rid of yet another item that no longer felt like it belonged in our home or our marriage. It was a lovely experience to choose furniture together for the first time and to install this new piece in just the right spot. And it looked as good as we'd hoped.

Our first minor renovation project was a total revamp of one bathroom, and it was such fun choosing the tiles and fittings together. We found that we're actually quite good at the whole process.

Needing my home to feel like home
It's no secret that there have been times over the past few years when I've struggled with feeling lost and wanting to "run away from home". A home that sometimes hasn't felt like my home at all, where sometimes I've felt displaced and out of my physical and emotional comfort zones in response to struggles and issues within our stepfamily. In the earlier years I was no stranger to afternoons holed up in our bedroom because it all felt so uncomfortable and awkward "out there". At these times it seemed like I had nowhere to go that felt like mine.

I'm thankful that things got easier. I recognised that part of the problem for me was that I didn't have the space or the resources to do the things that I would have done in the past, when I needed to take time out. Gardening, for example. I really haven't had much of one for a while, and that's just one of the unfortunate, but thankfully temporary, things about my new home. Neither do I (yet) have a craft area that I can retreat to and be creative for a while. In fact, most of my crafty "stuff" is STILL packed away in boxes because we haven't had the space for it. Space has definitely been one of our biggest challenges!!!

Renovation rescue
A significant renovation was long overdue, and now that it's well underway I can see light at the end of the tunnel. But in the beginning we felt the need to be quite secretive about it, with good reason given the complexities of stepfamily life. The children were given information on a "need to know" basis because we didn't want them to feel anxious, resistant, or displaced during the planning stages when they didn't fully understand the big picture, and while we didn't really know what was possible. We wanted to avoid reactions that may have hijacked the process before we even got started. You know, like "but I LOVE my bedroom, I don't WANT a new bedroom, why can't I stay where I am?"

We were also protective of our privacy, and that's hard in a stepfamily when details go so freely and indiscriminately between homes. However, we also recognised that it was important for the children to feel some sense of participation and ownership, after all it was their home too. So when the time was right, and with all the necessary reassurances, we shared with them the "fait accompli" of our building plans. They were enthusiastic. I was relieved. We met no resistance, only excited interest. Phew.

Our own stamp
When it came to making changes to our nest, obviously some were inevitable from the start - pieces of my furniture appeared, things got rearranged somewhat to fit other things in, other stuff was thrown out, some of my personal items were evident in our living spaces. What was once their dad's bedroom became "our" bedroom and therefore out of bounds.

I'm so thankful that my husband understands my need to put my stamp on our place, and in fact to create our own "stamp". Although it was hard for me to take the planning process slowly, I appreciated the necessity of this for the sake of my stepchildren.

A long-term home
The bottom line in all of it is that we intend this to be our long-term home. The children are moving on, and will continue to do so over the next few years - they're nearly all adults now, after all. But we plan to stay for a while.

This house was home for them all for quite a few years. And now, more and more, it feels like home for me too.


  1. It sounds like you've compromised and gotten the balance just right Sue and you must be so excited at the prospect of having your own space - whether you use it often doesn't matter, it's having somewhere of your own. When we moved to our current home I set one of the rooms up as my "office" as I'd never had a room that was just mine - I don't use it much these days, but at the time it was really important for me to create that space and have something of my own for once.

    1. As things take shape and the light at the end of the tunnel appears brighter, it is getting exciting Leanne! We just had my mum here for a week, and managed to get the second bathroom (and laundry) finished (to "useable" status anyway) before she got here (as I picked her up from the airport, hubby was installing the mirror.........). Even that achievement was a joy. We still have a way to go until we can say the house is "finished" (is it ever???) but compared to a year ago when we were struggling with rainy days and nights under a somewhat leaky tarpaulin, we've come a long way!! And the kids love it, so that's a bonus!! xx


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