Lighting the way | Living with Gleigh

When my husband and I bought our house I was in my late twenties. I used to turn all the lights on in the house in the evening because I hated the dark. My husband used to complain about it and turn all the lights off. When I went back into a room later, I’d turn them on again.

Now I’m the one who turns off all the lights no one is using. I don’t think it’s that my husband doesn’t like the dark, but I think his eyesight it 20-something years older and he needs more light to see. Then because he is older, he forgets he turned everything off. So as he leaves each room, I’m soon behind to turn off the light. Once he’s in bed, I go back through the house making sure they’re all off. It works for us.

This week, which is spring break for my youngest daughter, the light issue has arisen once again. It’s not me or my husband, it’s my daughter. She’s been making costumes for a couple years now and she holes up in her bedroom, cutting, sewing, and constructing these costumes.

We don’t have a large house, which means my kids don’t have big bedrooms; certainly not the space constructing a costume needs. But we have large, community rooms in the house in which she could do these projects.

It’s not that I care if her room gets messy, that’s why we have doors. But her safety has become a concern. Her room was so extremely trashed during the last costume making session, all I could think about were natural disasters; like if one were to happen, how would she ever make it out of her room alive?

One day, I was in the computer/craft room; a very large room at the end of the house, right next to the family room, when she came strolling in. I asked her why she would chose to work on her extensive projects in her small, cramped bedroom when she had this huge room to work in.

She told me the lighting was horrible in the room and she hated the small, 70s, metal table I had for her to sew on because it wiggled and squeaked.

First thing I did was switch on the large, fluorescent light I have above my craft table, then suggest we commandeer her sister’s unused desk for her to sew on. Once we had the details worked out, I set the plan in motion.

It helped that I’ve been rearranging my house this week, integrating some items we got from my in-laws; I was already in the reorganization groove. I spent Thursday playing merry-go-round with the furniture and by evening my daughter had her space.

She was in the computer/craft room sewing away that evening, enjoying all the space she had, but the door was closed. She hates the dark and the family room was dark. Aah, there’s the real reason for her hesitation about using the craft room for her projects.

I knew what I had to do for her: I turned on the light in the dining room next to the kitchen, turned on the light in the family room next to the craft room and gave my instructions: “As you leave the craft room turn off the light, then as you leave the family room turn off the light, then as you walk through the door to the dining room turn off the light and you will be escorted through the house safely to your room.”

Her face lit up, “Thanks, mom.” She just needed someone to light the way.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to lighting the way for her family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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