Dear Couch, I Can Explain.

Dear Couch,

You probably overheard me talking about you when the company was over this past week. I didn’t mean what I said really. Okay, I did. But we don’t actually have any concrete plans to get rid of you. I was having a moment, ashamed of your tired looks, your ragged edges and your blotchy arms. I know that sounds harsh. Being beige, you hide it quite well, so I shouldn’t complain.

You probably wish you could say a few things about me, too, and pass the blame. And I deserve it. So do my kids. I know these words are overdue, but after the slam I let slip last night, I suddenly feel the need to apologize and say thank you for putting up with us. Over the last decade, we have lovingly abused you. And you allow it. Okay, okay, Mom allows it.

Tucker looking at rain
Tucker, 15 months, enjoys looking at raindrops from the couch.

No matter the season, but especially during a long, rainy Atlanta spring, you provide a shelter for endless entertainment. Be it a poorly engineered fort, an Amazon-delivery train, a tunnel to somewhere or Santa’s gravity-challenged sleigh. You truly are the only one who can compete with the cardboard box for the title of the original Transformer toy. (Sorry to bring up the competition.)

Without complaint, you indulge my children’s imaginations. You’ve convinced me behind every creative wunderkind, there’s a good, solid couch like you. In fact, The Harvard Crimson reports Mark Zuckerburg sat on a ragged couch in the common room during Facebook’s early years. Oh, how I wish that couch could talk! I bet that raggedy ole thing had more to do with Zuckerburg’s success than any Harvard education. After all, the whiz-kid dropped out. I’m telling you, that couch deserves a mutli-million-dollar reupholstery job. I picture it bejeweled and trimmed in golden tassels. Or better yet, a new outfit: a stainless steel slipcover à la Ron Arad.

On second thought, it doesn’t take jewel-tones, tassels or custom slipcovers to be loved. I fondly remember the couch I grew up on. Its soft, rust-colored coat must have been made from the hide of Sesame Street’s Snuffleupagus. She was a beauty in the way only odd-colored couches can be.

Sesame Street’s Snuffleupagus. Courtesy Sesame Street

Like a battered puppy, she gave in to my petty demands: “Stay here!” I can hear me saying now, as I placed one cushion on top of the other to create my escape from Tornado Ted as we affectionately called my brother. She was one loyal friend, and I was sad to see her replaced by the ’90s trends. That magenta and teal loveseat just wasn’t the same.

Siblings on couch
Molly, Lucy, Emily and Tornado Ted on the Snuffleupagus couch. Love you, Ted!

You, my beige friend, are as good as gold. I won’t tarnish your name and divulge every detail about all the other stinky stuff. But honestly, it speaks to your humility. I mean, who else would take the constant absorption of a family of four children’s toots? And only God knows how many times you endured the fully loaded burps, the barfs, the… I’ll stop there because I don’t want to embarrass you and I want the neighbors to still want to come over. Besides, we’ve un-zippered, washed and zippered you back up again at least a dozen times since. I realize you may have shrunk a few sizes and developed bad posture in the process, but trust me, it was well worth it.

Seriously, though, I must thank you for being my sleepless-night companion during four long pregnancies. You didn’t brag about it. You just waited for me no matter the hour, selflessly providing a soft, flat and firm alternative. For this, I’m eternally grateful.

Oh, and about that picture I took of the designer velvet sectional… It sounds a lot worse than it is. She may look good–actually, she’s quite stunning. But what you lack in looks, you make up for in character. So don’t worry, she’s not coming over anytime soon. For one, I don’t think we can afford her until the kids graduate from college, or better yet, a literary agent writes me back with a life-changing deal. In the meantime, I’ll take your beige any day of the week–rain or shine. Just don’t expect that blue-velvet upholstery job you’ve been wanting anytime soon.

Forever indebted,

The Millers

Cousins on couch

The Grandparents and the cousins posing for a picture on the Snuffleupagus couch.


  1. Bev Voris

    ☕️👩 Love reading your whimsical blogs over my morning coffee, Em! Gotta tell you, this is my favorite so far because I have so many memories of ‘Pillow City’, and the safe passage it provided from the rapidly encroaching threat of ‘Hot Lava’ threatening the tender feet of many little ones at our house! Thanks for the delightful walk down memory lane😱!

  2. emilypmiller

    What fun memories, Aunt Bev! I’m glad everyone’s toes were saved from the threat of hot lava. How scary!! 😉 Thanks for reading and sharing. Have a beautiful day!

  3. Dawn Heavilin

    Grandma Rita’s couch shares a similar distinction in Benefiel lore! (I call it Grandma’s couch because I NEVER saw Grandpa sitting on it.) It was recovered at least 2 times since they bought it in the 1960s. Sarah and I used to drive our Matchbox cars along the seams like road ribbons. It left stripes imprinted on our cheeks when we conked out before Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve. I sat on that couch watching Cubs games on WGN TV with Grandpa before many piano lessons. (You Cardinal cousins can blame Great Uncle Benny for my unnatural love of the Cubs! He started it!)
    I ended up with the couch 8 years ago, since recovered with a beautiful (cough cough) cream fabric with tiny pink and green flowers, at my apartment in Earlville. Mom and her siblings called it the funeral home couch. Until I could finally afford matching furniture of my own a year ago, it graced the deluxe apartment in the sky where I now reside. Now it sits forlorn in my garage. Makes me sad that Salvation Army and Goodwill won’t pick it up. I’m certain various rodents are enjoying it now. My grandparents are probably rolling over in their graves at the waste of a good couch!

  4. Katie Marcet

    This post totally speaks to me and my super raggedy sofa! I will have to stop being so hard on her… she really has given us so many wonderful memories💗

  5. Valerie Probst

    Now it’s time to write about the cars, station wagons and vans that our family got attached to! We drove them all until 280 miles, except the red and white station wagon. it met its demise when a male whitetail stag ran across the dark country road in front of me. Chasing women was the deer’s problem. Being blindly in love and in pursuit of his girlfriend, he got blind-sided. Walter looks so stoic on the basement wall. The taxidermist did a marvelous job recreating his fatal ahhhhhh! I cried for Walter, but I balled when they declared our station wagon totaled.

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