The other day, we got a new couch. It’s the biggest one we’ve ever had, and meets my one requirement for a couch. A Connell couch needs to:
comfortably hold our whole family so we can all snuggle up for a movie or a read-aloud when we want to.
This used to be easy to find. But now that we have 9 people in our family? And are on a tight budget? Not so much.
Months of off-and-on scouring of Craigslist and Facebook garage sale pages led me to THE ONE– a used 6-piece sectional, plus ottoman. The price was good… actually, excellent… for a couch of this size. They were getting rid of it because it was too big for their space. Other people had commented things like, “I wish it wasn’t quite so big or else we’d get it.” Or, “I’m not sure it would fit in our living room.” Well, that was just right for us. We drove down that night and snagged it before anyone else could.
The next day, I scratched out one of my random gotta-get-it-out-of-my-brain-lists. It went like this:
- Ethiopians’ station-wagon 70’s flower couch.
- the couch with mom in her tennis shoes.
- the expensive Murphy’s couches.
- the 80’s floral Chinese couches.
- the leather Illi couch.
- the Grand Prairie couch by where Mei Mei & Moses first walked.
- the red floral Christmas couches.
- the 3rd-family L-shaped sectional that needed restitching on day 1.
- the $300 massive sectional with ottoman that needed restitching on day 1.
Brain-lists like this are one of the reasons this song resonates. No one except for Doug and I has even SEEN all those couches, and no one but us could tell even the stories that just this list refers to. (And of course there are more stories to each couch than these tiny descriptions hold.)
But I’ll tell you two of the stories referenced in that brain-list:
- Before we moved to North Little Rock, we needed to sell our old thrift-store couch. It was one of those with a sturdy entirely-wood frame and garish orange-red and yellow flowers on the upholstery. I think we sold it for $10. We wanted it gone, but, c’mon, we were a poor college couple and I hadn’t yet started my first after-college job. $10 was $10. Four Ethiopian college guys (exchange students at the university across the street) drove up in a station wagon, handed us the $10, loaded it up onto the top of their car without a rope or bungee or anything, and each of them got in the car, stuck an arm out of his own window, wrapped it up around the couch, and drove off. Just like that, it was gone.
- Before my oldest son Ethan’s birth, I’d been having classic braxton-hicks contractions for multiple nights. The unproductive, fake contractions were particularly difficult to discern for a gal who had never felt ANY contractions. So we went for walks, often, in hopes of bringing on real labor. (We also drove over crazy-bumpy roads, ate heaps and heaps of spicy food, and I took Castor Oil. Twice.) The first night my mom came to visit us, we went for one of these unproductive walks of hope while she unpacked her suitcase and settled in. We came home, and told her the contractions had fizzled and that we could open up the hide-a-bed for her and then all go to bed. Instead, still fully dressed with her tennis shoes, she grabbed a couch blanket and said, “oh no, I’ll be fine.” I assured her, “no really, my contractions haven’t continued. I don’t think this is it. We can open it up for you; it’ll be more comfortable.” She insisted, “No, I’m fine; this way I’ll be ready in case you go into labor.” The next night, even after our walk, she took her shoes off, put on pajamas, and we pulled out the hide-a-bed. It took more than a week for Ethan to finally make his entrance (10 days “late”). I hope no matter how old I get, I’ll never forget my cute mama, sitting there with her tennis shoes on, on that hide-a-bed couch.
I can’t wait to see all the memories we’ll make, as a family, on this new couch.