To a new bride, a couch is a big deal. I remember picking out the couch for our house - we went to so many different places. I knew what I wanted - comfort, simplicity, neutral colors. But this was a big deal! Such a huge piece of furniture, in the middle of the house. It had to be perfect.
To a mama, a couch is a casualty of toddler fun, full of memory marks. I have come to realize that we can't agonize over every stain that appears on the couches - yelling about every strawberry-soaked hand that falls on it's cushions in a fit of giggles. I mean, I'm sure some people do that. But I just can't. Don't get me wrong, I do not encourage food on the couch, or stain-making. I will certainly correct and get angry when markers are being wielded about, in order to make the little one understand proper behavior. But I don't care about the couch, not really. That's not what it's there for. It's there to be lived on.
In our most recent couch staining experience, there was a paint brush involved. A paint brush covered in paint, and very enthusiastic painter wearing a beret. As I tried removing the stain, I thought about the couches in my house that I grew up in. I thought about the memories I had associated with them. I remember sitting on the love seat and reading the 10 library books that we would get each week, which were kept on the table by the couch so we didn't lose them. I remember that it was blue with little dots, I remember the way it felt. I remember little ruffled pillow that were perfect for little heads. I remember the spot where our puppy loved to sleep while we weren't home. I remember the arm where she used to prop up on to see us out the window. I remember making forts with the cushions. I remember jumping on the loveseat to the Cookie Monster song until my mama told me that jumping wasn't allowed.
Know what I don't remember? Any stains. I'm sure they were there. But they didn't matter. They didn't affect our fun. They didn't affect our memories.
So today, as the couch cushion is packaged up and ready to go the dry cleaners, I'm not caring. And not because I am careless, because I do care about keeping belongings nice. But because I don't want to look back on today and have the memory be of the stain, or of yelling at Reilly for making it. I want my memory to be what I know Reilly's memory will be: that hot summer day when Mommy and I painted pretty pictures. She won't remember making the stain, or the Memory Mark. With every stain, there is usually a face like this that made it. And if I agonized over every stain, I would miss the fun this face was having.