Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not quite finished

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day working on Elise's playroom. We recently moved the contents of my sewing room into the basement with the intention of turning the sewing room into a playroom. We had been playing with the idea for a while (no pun intended), and then some friends of ours gave Elise a tent. That's right, a tent. Or rather, a tent city. It consists of two pup tents, a tipi, and two tunnels to connect all three tents. It is huge, and there was no way it was going in the living room, nor was there room for it in Elise's bedroom. That sealed the deal. Elise was getting a playroom. We quickly got the room to a point where Elise could play it in without constant supervision, and then our efforts dwindled and we didn't get much else done. So yesterday I concentrated on the playroom, to the neglect of the rest of the house, I'm afraid. I am resisting the temptation to say that it's done. It's not done. There is still a pegboard of sewing notions on the wall, and the only child-friendly thing on the wall is a string of lights with colorful paper shades, purchased over two years ago with the intention of putting it up in the nursery, and then stuffed into a closet, where it remained until yesterday's excavation. Putting colorful, playful things on the walls is part of my plan for the playroom, so I cannot say that it is finished quite yet.

I try not to do that. To say something is finished when it is not. I am reminded of my college days - really not all that long ago. I did not have a car, so my friend Bob kindly gave me a ride to church on Sunday mornings. He would knock at my door and ask if I was ready to go, and almost inevitably I would say, "Yes, I just need to [find my coat/put on my shoes/get my Bible/tell my roommate I'm going/etc.]." At first Bob would say, humorously, "Well, then, you're not really ready to go, are you?" After a while, he didn't have to say anything. He would just stand in the doorway with an amused look on his face. It was funny, a bit of a joke, but it actually had quite an impact on me. It was a lesson in saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

Think about how often we do this. "Dinner's ready, I just have to set the table." "My paper is done, I just have to do the bibliography." "The laundry is done, I just have to fold it." Am I the only one who does this? It's a strange thing, to claim completion when we are oh so close to it. I think perhaps we deny ourselves that great, full sense of satisfaction that comes with a job well done when we try to experience that satisfaction prematurely. How much more satisfying is it to say, "Dinner's ready." "My paper is done." "The laundry is done." Last week Andy and I purchased a wedding gift for a friend, and we had the store gift wrap it for us. Now, granted, there wasn't a whole lot of satisfaction due to the work involved. How hard is it to find an item listed on a registry, carry it to the counter, hand the clerk a plastic card, and receive a beautifully wrapped gift in exchange? Not hard. But still, leaving the store with the gift all wrapped was extremely satisfying. (I realize I am greatly overusing that word.) To know that it was in our car, completely ready to go, and there was nothing more I had to do with it - it was great! I love that sense of completion. I am done. I am finished. What's next?

I'll let you know when I'm done with the playroom.


Bob said...

Now I feel kinda bad about saying that. I mean, I guess it turned out okay, but... yeah.

Holly said...

I wish you wouldn't. I think it's wonderful that our friendship was strong enough to include some friendly teasing now and again. At its best, this particular teasing served to strengthen character; and at its worst, it was simply non-anything. No harm done!