(seven) August 2003. I’m pretty sure this living room sofa was the first piece of furniture that we bought as a married couple. We placed it between the front two windows of the house, and it lived there happily for over a decade. Buying a couch together felt like a monumental thing, a grownup thing. Sometimes I catch myself wondering what this life would be like if we hadn’t built everything from scratch – if we had just picked everything out of a catalog and had it delivered to our front door at the same time. (A front door with real stairs and a real porch, unlike the temporary stairs we lived with for so long.) We probably would have gotten more sleep, caught more movies, traveled more. Maybe we would have filled those hours in other ways, important ways, lazy ways. Who knows? I see this photo and I can picture how unfinished everything is just beyond this frame. I see my grandmother, the grande dame of domestic arts, cradling E in her lap, my grandfather just to her left, and I ask her this, now: Can you see all the things that we hope to do here, that we’ll get around to soon enough? She doesn’t lift her head (because it’s a photo, and she’s not here) as she replies It’s beautiful, it’s perfect, it’s all you need and more.