It’s funny how changing something as simple as a throw pillow, a blanket or a chair can change the whole vibe of a room. Don’t even get me started on a paint color or art. When we bought our current home, it was a fixer-upper but we saw the potential because it “had good bones” as my Father-in-law would say. It wasn’t going to be instant gratification; it wasn’t our dream home but it had a charm and was in the perfect neighborhood for a young family. So we bought it.
Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in partnership with Wayfair, but, as always, all opinions are my own.
We’ve grown with the house. As we’ve renovated and changed every single thing in this house in the past 9 years, we’ve also changed in every single way except for one, we are still that oversharing, possibly co-dependent family who does everything together. We laugh, cry, scream and shout together. We lift each other up and face change head on, just like this old house. We’ve got good bones.
This house has welcomed friends and family for dinners and holidays, it’s hosted several Halloween and Ugly sweater parties. Echoed the sounds of newest additions to the family and enveloped the cries of pain and sorrow of loss. It’s witnessed love in more ways than I ever thought possible. With its meager structure, it’s brought us through a pandemic. Now, it will see our daughters turn 15. In fact, our Bella turned 15 during the first week of the pandemic. Out Gabs will turn 15 next spring.
15-years-old is the age a Latina girl becomes a young woman in the Latino culture. It is the same age that the Catholic church recognizes children as adults. Being a Quinceañera is something all little Latina girls look forward to from the day they attend their first Quinces party and realize that someday, they will get to wear the big dress and crown and be the princess in not just their parents’ eyes but to everyone. She will be celebrated in a way that most girls may never get the chance to be.
We had such a beautiful celebration planned for Bella. It was as big and grand as any wedding and years in the planning. Friends and family for all over the country were planning to come. Bella, who is a shy and humble introvert, was ecstatic to celebrate this Latina rite of passage. I wasn’t able to have my own Quinceañera because my parents couldn’t afford to throw that party 3 times, and they had 3 girls so it’s something I’ve always dreamed of giving my girls.
She had the dress, crown and shoes. Months of practicing professionally created choreography by her world-renowned ballet teacher with her damas and chambelanes. Decorations, food, outfits and even a special settee for our princess, to serve as her throne for the night. Months of organizing and planning, saving and working towards goals all to be taken away by a global pandemic.
Then the pandemic hit and snatched it away from her on her actual birthday, 1 day before her the biggest party of her life, the CoVid pandemic caused the country to come to a screeching halt. She was inconsolable. I didn’t even know how to reason it with her. How do you reason with a 15-year-old who just lost something she was looking forward to for years? Think of trying to reason with a bride who just lost her wedding the night before the wedding because the world had other plans.
We tried to reschedule for August but, as we all know, the pandemic was not done (still isn’t). Family and friends sent her well-wishes and tried to cheer her up. But the dress still hangs in the corner and all the decorations are boxed up in our theater room. Champagne flutes and Mexican candy for 200 are collecting dust next to the decorations and atop all of it there are two crowns and a last doll, as a constant reminder of what never was. But the settee, the one that was to hold her in her big dress on her big day, now sits in our dining room and is where she sits to do virtual school. It’s where she often naps when she’s feeling down. It’s where her and her sister sit, cut up, laugh and plan their TikToks.
This settee is more than just a place to sit, it’s a place to reflect and feel your feelings. It not only changed the room in this old house, it occasionally changes the moods of my daughters. Most importantly, next June, it will hold my Bella on the day we celebrate her and her sister, Gabs, in a post-pandemic double quinceañera celebration like you’ve never seen. I guess now, I’ll have to order another one so each princess has her own thrown. When they move out someday, I will send these settees with them so they can always remember their big day and the family who loves them more than they can even imagine.