Reading an article or column these days without the context of coronavirus is rare. I would like to offer something else, but I must say this will be another one.
The pandemic is defining people’s lives and how they see their homes. Though Iowans haven’t been mandated to shelter in place, many people are following those guidelines. Homes no longer separate work and family life. Both operating under one roof makes home less a place of relaxation and more of a source of stress. There is no longer a want to stay home; now there is a need.
I acknowledge people who have shelter, food reserves and good health have privilege. Some are not so lucky. I know I shouldn’t complain.
I am having mixed feelings. Rooms seem dull when staring at the same four walls all day, especially on the gray days. Looking at the same scenery out the window every day makes me long to go somewhere new. Inspiration, possibilities and new ideas are limited.
At the same time, this is an exciting time for us. New items have been arriving at our home. We are sharing fresh stories and experiences. A long-underused room has realized its purpose.
That’s because we’ve brought our baby home. As new parents we were prepared to be homebodies for a month or two. We were not anticipating the constraints of social distancing limiting us from introducing our son to family.
Nothing about this time is out of the ordinary for our son, and I’m glad he’s unaware. Spending time bonding with mom and dad is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. I am taking comfort in that.
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Putting his nursery together has brought a sense of normalcy. Activities such as coloring, string art and puzzle assembly have been welcome during repetitive days. The nursery has an animal theme and feels bursting with life. A mobile of colorful felted elephants, giraffes, an owl and sloth hangs above his crib. Animals are multiplying in the room whether in art, comforting stuffed animals or drawings.
I feel happier stepping into the nursery where things are bright, new and hopeful. While this is a time we want to put behind us, I don’t want to lose that hope. I want hope to return to everyone’s homes and lives.
Someday soon our homes will become a welcome retreat from the world instead of our entire world.
Erin Owen graduated from the interior design program at Kirkwood Community College. She has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org