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My husband and I recently did something out of character. We bought some Nice Things. We decided we had outgrown some of the furniture we inherited as newlyweds from people we considered to be old (over 26), rich (they did not eat wacky mac multiple times a week to save money), and sophisticated (they liked wine that wasn’t bubbly).

So I am now the proud owner of new dining room chairs. I am also over 26, not so into wacky mac, and getting better at pretending to like wine that doesn’t taste like soda. This puts me at step 5 of my 12 step program toward becoming an adult. The next step is: stop referring to your dress from Old Navy as your ‘fancy dress’. Adulthood is hard.

But having nice things in conjunction with having children begs a serious question – is it worth it? The chairs make me happy, true. But when the children start planning how best to incorporate them into their game of ‘Superman Meets Thor and Everything Explodes’, well, that makes me kind of sad. When guests come and sit comfortably in my chairs (and ask me where I bought my fancy dress), I feel happy. When my child accidentally sits on the slice of cake which he has placed on the new chair for safe keeping, and upon realizing his mistake jumps up and spills juice on the chair to his right, I am once again saddened.

In the epic battle of children vs. chairs, the chairs were losing. We saw our options as the following: 1) get rid of the chairs – we have lived without nice things for more than one decade, what’s one more? 2) Keep the chairs and cover them with towels whenever the children are within a 12 mile radius. 3) get rid of the children. They are cute, but they drain my income and distract me from my life’s goal of never again reading a book that rhymes.
Option 1 was clearly out – the chairs have been paid for, and I love them. And option 3 was no good either. One day I will spill something on the chairs and I will need to blame it on the children, so they must stick around. (Taking ownership of one’s actions is step 11. I am not there yet, suckers!)

That left us with option 2. Cover the chairs with towels – protect them from Thor and his evil sidekick, Juice.

I thought about it. And I realized that while I have matured into a person who has nice things, I don’t want to mature so much as to become one who worries about them. I want to have my chairs and use them without restriction. I want to have my cake and eat it too – hey, I will even share the cake with my children so long as they do not grind it into the chairs.

And so we came up with option 4: use the chairs (for sitting, not exploding) knowing that they will indeed get stained and scratched, and hoping my children will understand that they are always welcome at the table, and that spilling is not a crime – at least not one as grave as asking me to read Green Eggs and Ham.

So now that the chair situation is under control I will focus my sights on Step 6 – Do not try to impress people by showing them you can touch your nose with your tongue. Adulthood is way overrated.