This is my fridge. Ta da! Just a year ago, you would have never caught me with a house that had a fridge that looked like this. Not because I didn’t own these things or have children that made photos worthy of being adorned on the fridge. I only allowed such things on the side of the fridge at our old house. It was tucked off to the side, nearly under a cabinet. And let’s not even get started with the top of the fridge. That was 100% off limits.
What’s the deal with the fridge?
I remember someone coming into our old house not too long after we bought it and making the comment that they loved that our fridge was so clean. They thought it was so tacky for magnets and papers and photos to be on fridges and that putting items on top was the equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day. So before I even had the chance to have the fridge that had seen some stuff – I chose to not be tacky and scolded my husband anytime he tried to put things on the fridge. Every item needed to be approved. Signed off on by me. And don’t even think about putting anything on top of that thing.
We have lived in our new house about 8 months now and the above photo is our fridge in its current state. It is part of what makes our house feel like a home. My son drew those pictures and my daughter moves magnets to and from the face of the fridge daily. I don’t curate what goes on the fridge. I simply just keep adding photos and drawings until the magnets start slowly falling to the floor. I will fully admit that I am not cured completely. I did remove some items from the top of the fridge before taking the photo. If a cereal box would make its way to the top, it would not last longer than a few minutes before I would find it a new home. I still love a clean top but the reasons have changed.
There is a bigger underlining reason behind why this person making the comment that she did totally constructed a behavior that I would keep for 5 years. Some of it is my OCD and I credit a lot of breaking this habit to getting a better grasp on my compulsions. But - a lot is credited to learning to be okay with “me”. For a little more than a decade, I had based what I wanted out of life on what others valued. I did not see what I valued as valuable. I craved approval and the things that sparked passion inside me were not (are not) things that a lot of those around me value. I was constantly trying to make sure my home looked a certain way when certain people came by because it would just be horrible for them to think we lived “this way.” But you know what? We DO live this way. Even if I pretend for a few hours that we don’t. How much energy was wasted in fussing over every detail, yelling at my husband to tidy things that are never tidied, and crying over the imperfections of our daily lives? When people think of me – I don’t want them to think “Yeah – she’s the one with the clean fridge.” I want them to think “Yeah – she’s the one with the happy children and loving husband and home I feel comfortable to be myself in.” Better yet – I want them to remember that I was happy, that I was loving, and that I was comfortable to be myself in my home no matter who was in it.
So that birthday hat from December will still be there on top in July and I’m sure the bowl we use when someone starts puking will make its way back there soon for easy access (it’s clean but still a vomit reminder which isn’t very appetizing but then again – maybe it’s a good way to drop a few pounds). Magnets will fall and my daughter will probably scratch the stainless. And every time I see those imperfections, I’ll be reminded of this beautiful life I have the privilege of living.