Tip #199: Embrace transparency.
When we started our apartment hunt this summer, we were looking for a place with doors to close on rooms large enough to stretch out in. In the (daily) event that James or I needed to sequester ourselves to work, or have a semi-private meltdown, we hoped that could happen without needing to squeeze into a child’s bunk bed or sit, knees nearly to ears, in a child’s chair. Especially when the alternative was even worse: A tiny room for kids was great for sleeping, but more problematic when all three of the kids plus their beleaguered parent needed to be herded in there during a spousal conference call.
In the case of our new apartment, the doors we ended up with are made mostly of glass. Two sets of traditional French doors separate the three main rooms of our apartment from one another. Six weeks into living here, I’ve come to appreciate these transparent barriers more than I even realized I would.
It’s helpful, and sometimes even lovely, how the glass doors give us a literal window into moments we might otherwise miss. We can peek into Zoomed first-grade classes, or keep a trained eye on sibling squabbles, without needing to be fully enmeshed. Last night, James and the kids built a train track in the kids’ room while I made dinner. Two sets of closed doors provided me with a moment to myself and a sense of space. When dinner was ready I lit a candle and stood just for a minute watching my family in the semi-darkness; heart given the distance to grow fonder.
The old doors require a bit of fiddling to close properly and the hardware could benefit from some de-gunking and some oiling. I’m sure only the kids growing up will remedy the daily smudges of indeterminate origin on the lower panes. (Ditto my fear that someone’s elbow will blow through the glass.) But the doors let in light and offer privacy, which are two things we’ve long been a little bit low on.
(Come bedtime, there are curtains. More on those soon.)