We live in a cozy deep forest cabin where my sweet hubby spent his summers as far back as he can remember. Since his teens he has lived here year ‘round. Over the years full-on electricity and running water, a beautifully handmade addition with radiant heat, and lots of insulation have been added by my ever-able and very handy hubby. He added a garage, an attic storage space and bolstered up bare wooden walls in the oldest part of the house with insulation and sheetrock. I love our little home. It is cozy, warm in winter and cool in the hottest parts of summer.
As our daughters grow and our burning desire to have dinner parties and house-guests keeps knocking at the door, we have slowly arrived at the decision that we need more room. A few years ago we bought the house two doors down. It was in need of a complete interior makeover and little by little we (meaning mostly Chris) have been chipping away at it. The girls will have separate bedrooms, we will have a shared creative space, a nice big open living space, a spectacular view and closets all around! Oh, and a mud room. Clean houses and storage areas make me so excited!
It is funny, this working with your spouse toward a common goal thing. I get overwhelmed with so many choices for every last detail. What kind of window trim was a long discussion followed by days worth of ‘Are you sure?” “Trim is less expensive and I could just go get it done.” More than the conflict, what was hardest for me, was realizing that Chris very nearly didn’t ask for my input. He was all set to just trim the place out just as he thought would be best until I realized that that was the next step in the process. I came along with the idea that no trim would be beautiful, keeping simple, and fewer, lines in the space.
It has been a year and we still have not moved forward on the window trim.
Let me tell you that we have been married for nearly 14 years. My husband is kind, incredibly smart, able, eloquent, and loving. He is just not used to consulting others for the way forward. We are the same like that. We started our businesses the same year (1987) and have been self-employed pretty much ever since. We are both creative, ‘made for more’ kinda people. It struck me as a light switch was installed right in the MIDDLE of a beautiful, high-visibility wall – the perfect spot for an amazing piece of artwork, that I need to speak up about all the little details and STOP THE OVERWHELM.
So I stopped.
Just like that.
Looking back I realize how that very same overwhelm is what kept a lot of wonderful ideas from coming to fruition. Not sure, if it is really overwhelm or inability to feel heard, or communicate clearly, or maybe it was just our mutual lack of desire to grab conflict by the balls and work through it with as much grace as we can muster. All of these things played a role as well as our individual unequivocal commitment/s to being self-directed to the core. The cool thing is, we are working through our blocks together and things are taking shape.
Getting to this place took some controlled steps toward self-empowerment. First, I realized that for this project, along with the three other giant sized half-finished obstacles we have set in our path, we need money. Not just a little bit of money but some substantially sized big dollars to button things up and allow our lives to unfold with ease, whimsy, and love. By that I mean, finding a time in our lives when every dollar we earn is not earmarked for property tax, an alarm system, or a new foundation. When all the projects we have started are finished – our rental property driveways are beautiful, finished and easy care. The gardens are well established, maintained and they serve our tenants well. A time when all the laundry is done, folded, and put away AND the kitchen is clean. This is what I am working toward.
So, the first thing I did was hire Allen Timmons to build us a treehouse on the property of our soon-to-be home. I climbed trees and have wanted, dreamed of, and drawn plans of a treehouse since I was a little girl. I remember finding plans in a magazine and getting really excited about building one when I was about 10 or 11. My parents seemed to be into it but when it came right down to getting the lumber and making it actually happen they dropped the ball. Nope, they were not going to help me make a treehouse happen.
More than two years ago Chris and I contacted Allen from Backyard Heirlooms with the idea that we would hire him to build a treehouse, for the girls. We were not ready then. Chris and I were at odds as to where – like which tree/s should be used. We talked, the kids chimed in with very clear, and further conflicting ideas they had for location, we discussed, and got frustrated, and then didn’t talk more about it. We let the idea fall away.
This spring, I decided that I was going to hire Allen to build a treehouse at our new property. It was to be a surprise for the family. A conversation, site visit and paid deposit got the ball rolling. As the summer went by our treehouse took shape. Perched on a giant bolder, hugging a couple sturdy maple trees, we have the most magical hide away in the trees. There are two floors with a ladder and trapdoor, two balconies, a storage bench and built-in table. There is floorspace for four to sleep – we need to make a plan for a family slumber party!
Each day since there was something to see up there, we have made the short walk through the woods to spend time in this cherished space. The kids and dogs go there alone. I meditate there in the mornings. Chris eats his lunch there on days that he is working nearby.
Now that the building is complete, I am working on styling the interior with cute curtains (to keep birds from flying into the windows) We need a chair, a lantern, and maybe a mattress upstairs. Already the completion of this piece of our project has borne success by getting the whole family to spend time in the space where we will live once work is finished on the house. We are dreaming up gardens, visualizing our new driveway and making room for that to come about.
For a moment there I questioned spending the money on having an artist-made treehouse feeling as though we were not in a position to afford such luxury. It is clear to me now that this was exactly what we needed to get unstuck and allow ourselves the selflove of lunch in the treetops. We needed to see that planning a family slumber party perched atop a majestic boulder adds so much beauty to the life we share. AND, I daresay, that my husband needed, to step aside to see that I am willing and able to contribute to making our new house and property our forever family home.
In addition to sparking our family interest in getting our new home complete. Having this new focus and realizing that we are all actually playing for the same team enables us to discuss more easily. We do find conflict and are able work through it. This ability and initiating this project on my own has given me a new level of empowerment that feeds me joy. My outlook on life, and my familial relationships, has changed about 150 degrees since we first discussed a treehouse for the girls a couple years ago. One of the most important things I realized is that the treehouse is actually for me – and I am a good sharer.
So, if you have ever really wanted something special, that you have waited, put aside, or thought you would make happen later, let me encourage you to stop hesitating. Begin go put the pieces in place, no matter how small they are to start with, so that you can to make that thing happen. If that thing, happens to be a magical artist-made treehouse, let me suggest you contact Allen Timmons at Backyard Heirlooms in Great Barrington, MA and see what sort of nest-like, sacred space/treehouse he can create for you and your future.
Now, my goal this week is to honor the promise I have made to myself to begin my days taking care of me. You can find me meditating in my treehouse and initiating a home yoga practice (which will be ever-so-much easier when we have just a little more room with ceiling heights that accommodate overhead stretching).
Oh and as for that window trim? I just hired a guy to do one window trimless so we can see how it looks.