rituals: the couch (kaitlin jenkins).

Okay, treat of treats on today’s Guest Post Tuesday, on today’s look at the not-so-boring rituals that make the story deeper …because today you get my COUSIN! She’s a high school English teacher and a bookworm and a snorter and a lover of the beer her brewmaster-husband brews at a local brewery. So, enter into Kaitlin’s words today as she treats us to her couch.

Penny Pic

When one walks into a home, they might see a piano, and think fondly of a family gathered around it singing holiday songs. Or perhaps they might see the television, that flat-screened 55-inch marvel that brings us the best of “How I Met your Mother,” and don’t-you-dare-judge-me, “The Bachelor.” And somewhere nearby, the couch patiently waits, ready to cushion, to comfort. Some homes boast sleek leather (it’s easy to clean), others, the jumbo L-shaped sectional (by far the best for fort-making). The home I share with my husband, our cat, and our puppy is no different. The piano plays songs of yuletide joy, the T.V. tells me who will get kicked off this week in a storm of tears and drama, and the couch- the couch brings us all together.

It is the space that hosts our nightly ritual.

It was the first big-kid piece of furniture we ever bought. I remember thinking, “How can things cost this much money?” I chuckle now, thinking about how we got it on sale at a consignment store. It is small, and lightly patterned. Thank god it has always been cream-colored, because the years and baby animals have taken away its…new charm. It sags in just the right places, so that the sitters unintentionally form a cuddle-puddle, whether they want to or not. And it is my favorite place in the whole world.

My husband and I are currently experiencing that honeymoon, lala-land, head-over-heels, eyes only for each other bubble that is the first year of marriage. We are in that beautiful moment of quiet before the storm.

We love our jobs, and pour ourselves wholeheartedly into them. We work crazy hours because we can. The only babies we have are furry, and require nothing more than some kibble and our absolute love.

This space, in our first year of marriage, is something we protect. We guard it; we cherish it, because we know that it is fragile, and that with the first cries of our first baby, things will be different.

Wonderful, but different.

And so, every night we meet on the couch. The hubs lights the lemongrass candle on the coffee table, I order the vegetarian pho. The fur babies get settled and we fall into each other’s presence.

Sometimes the ritual space is filled with confession: “You know Joey in my fourth period?” I’ll ask. Of course he does. This is where he hears about Joey all the time.

“Today he made me cry. He stood up for the autistic kid, and it was the bravest thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

Sometimes the ritual space is filled with song, “So no one told you life was gonna be this waaaaaaay! (clap clap clap clap!)” And we sing along, excited to see what shenanigans the “Friends” gang will be up to this week.

Sometimes, the ritual space is filled with silence. The kind you soak in after a long day of people barking orders, and kids dropping f-bombs. Sometimes we need each other’s silent support. And on the ritual couch, the other gladly gives it.

In this space the puppy snores gently, the cat purrs, we slurp our vegetarian pho, and we grin over at each other like two fools in love.

Because this is our space.

This is our time.

I know so many people who are swept up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle, myself included. We spend so much of our time worrying about our to-do lists, and wondering if that e-mail was sent. We don’t allow ourselves the grace to stop and breathe in the moment. Life rolls, and we roll with it.

Can we learn to appreciate the roll and the respite at the same time?

In one week I will get on a plane to go see the world. It’s something I have to do. Adult life has done nothing to cure this girl’s wanderlust. I will be standing on a glacier in Iceland, and I’ll be marveling at the Great Synagogue in Budapest.

But it’s the couch I’ll miss the most. The couch and all the ritual it brings with it: the puppy snores, the Top Chef finale, the husband’s exasperated confessions about the missing valve on an important piece of equipment at work, and most of all, the man himself. In the meantime, I’ll breathe in the moment; I’ll drink in the ritual. I’ve got a lemongrass candle to light and a phone call to make:

“Hi. Two orders of vegetarian pho, and an order of spring rolls, please.”


Kait and KenKaitlin lives in the bay area with her brewer husband Ken, their sweet pit-bull, Penny, and their malodorous cat, Roscoe. When she’s not grading 9th grade English papers, she loves hunting down good craft beer, singing Sunday hymns, and being a nerdy book-worm. Cara again: I know. Do you love her – and the couch and all her newlywed bliss – or WHAT? Leave Kaitlin some love today!

5 thoughts on “rituals: the couch (kaitlin jenkins).

  1. Hi Kaitlin! First year of newlywedded bliss is happening over here as well! Our most often voiced lament is that we do not have a couch. Can’t fit it up the twisty stairs. Not even the assemble-it-yourself kind. So, foregoing our chairs, we most often lounge on our (deeply discounted) Persian rug. It’s sacred time, sacred space.

  2. Kaitlin was a great friend and inspiration to my favorite teen who still speaks highly, with respect and enthusiasm, about her time in 9th grade English.

    There are people who help you realize how special and valued you are early in life. Kaitlin has done that for so many young people who are tossed and battered through the classes and social challenges of high school.

    Thanks, Ms. Driscoll (Mrs. Jenkins). You made/make a difference.

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