Today was the day that we said goodbye to our family home.
The home that my parents have lived in for 40 years.
The home that my sister spent growing up as a teenager, all the way until she got married.
The home that’s the only childhood, family home I’ve ever known… that I lived in for 25 years until I got married.
Goodbye, number 14.
It was an emotionally bittersweet day. Emotional because oh God, all of the above! So many memories are in every inch, every corner, every crevice of that house.
Through the rush to get everything out of the house this morning, I tried to pause every so often, look around, take a breath, and say a personal thanks to the house that made my years growing up, the best in the world.
Here is the emotional part.
I was reflecting on my life spent there as I walked around the empty rooms, a bit taken aback by the hollowness of it all. The furniture, furnishings, and all the photos and trinkets that made it such a loved home, were all gone.
But oh, those walls. If those walls could talk.
Those walls would speak of happiness, of laughter. Of sadness and shock, family coming together, and family celebrating to make the most out of life.
And love. SO much love.
Memories hit me as I walked into rooms, turned corners. Looked this way, that. People from the past resurfaced, along with people from the present.
In the lounge room, I saw myself sitting on the floor while my parents watched footy on the TV.
In the kitchen I saw my Mum cooking up a feast, our family sitting down to eat at the small round table, perfect for us in size, so perfect, to keep us tight and close together, as always.
In the garden I saw happiness. Friends, cousins, brimming around, enjoying a drink on a hot Summer’s day, folk music from the garage wafting over and adding to the festive atmosphere of it all.
The garage, ohhhh, the garage. Where so, so, so many parties and events were had. Birthdays. Milestones. Weddings. Day after weddings! New Years. And all of the Christmases that Mum cooked up a storm, catering for over 30 people like it was an absolute breeze, even though it wasn’t.
She made it look effortless.
Those were the days. Those were the BEST days.
The park next door. Hearing the squeals of happiness from our younger cousins as they took advantage of the play proximity.
At the front door, I saw my sister being led out in her wedding dress by my parents… then I saw myself, doing the same.
The dining room showed me all of us, our big family, as we are now. The original foursome, us, being my parents, sister and I, but now with our Hubbies and our kids, filling up the table, eating heaps, drinking more, and playing music off of youtube on the mobile until the late hours of the night.
In my bedroom. The bedroom that I spent 15 years of my life sleeping, dreaming and hoping in. I had another room for the first 10 years of my life, but I claimed this one, sister’s one, after she got married and moved out.
It’s always been the better room.
I sat in my old room. Took some photos around me. And then here, I began to cry.
I remember watching Video Hits for hours on weekend mornings.
My childhood cat scratching at my window, wanting to be let in, and then me opening the window to shoo her, upset she had woken me… but when she jumped down from the window sill outside, I thought stuff it, you’ve woken me now… and so I would call her back in (she must have thought I was a crazy bipolar cat owner) and she’d snuggle up next to me as I slept a little more.
I’d open up that window, and talk to friends through it.
I talked to SO MANY people, through it.
I listened to music for hours on my bed.
I had sleepovers in that room.
I had sleepovers in that house! On the lounge room floor, covered in blankets and sleeping bags.
When Croatia played Australia in the 2006 World Cup, Hubbie-then-boyfriend and I watched it, me running around the house with a Cro flag when Croatia scored a goal, and Hubbie running around the house with an Aussie flag when they scored a goal.
I don’t remember who won that game. All I remember is the memories.
All the people who came, and went from that house. It would be in the hundreds. Friends, family, people who I grew up with, grew apart from, so many people have touched base in that house, shared a laugh, a dance, a drink, and made a memory.
Even baby girl. It was the first place that she ever visited, after her own home.
Speaking of baby girl… My waters broke in that house! And my own Mum’s waters broke in there, when she was pregnant with me!
Both sister’s Hubbie, and my Hubbie, met my parents for the first time in THAT lounge room…
News broke. Secrets shared. Heavy discussions were had. Tears shed.
People were welcomed. People were greeted.
People came in, and immediately knew that there was love. They were safe. They were in a memorable place.
And so today, the time came. We walked through the house. We took our final photos.
And we drove off, for good.
That was seriously bitter, right?
Where is the sweet?
Well, it comes with the choice. How blessed are we that this was born of my parents decision to move closer to me and sis, and not because of a bad circumstance.
How lucky are we that we get to say goodbye, together, in the best way possible… and how lucky that we still get to take ALL the memories with us?
Including most importantly, the people.
I am so looking forward to making just as many happy memories in their new abode. 🏡🏡
But my heart will always hold a very special and dear place, for number 14.
Today I found myself really happy, in a place that I never really thought much of before.
Under the house.
Under, my parents house.
That’s baby girl way back there, climbing further and further underneath.
But at the beginning, we were scaredy cats. All of us, except for Dad. Of course he wasn’t scared, he made that storage space what it is today.
Mum got the guts first. Again, of course. She went in, and was slowly looking around, pulling things out, and discovering hidden treasures…
44 year old hidden treasures. Guess what it was…
I called baby girl out, because hey, check this out! She had never been under there, and seeing as it was the last time at my parents house for her, well there was honestly NO BETTER TIME.
And then it just kinda happened.
It occurred to me, that this was part of my childhood. I remembered going underneath there with my Dad, as a kid, back when I wasn’t so freaked out by spiders and webs… and as I grew, so too did my fascination of the place go dimmer.
I mean, why would I want to go under there? In the dust, bugs threatening to drop, strings of webs stuck to my hair?
I crouched outside the door there today, deciding “I AM GOING UNDER!” I knew the smell that would hit me before I even went in, and I wanted to sit in it, one last time.
As soon as baby girl realised I was headed in, she was off like a rocket, after her Baka. I slowly followed, and once my Dad was in there, soon all four of us were on hands and knees, looking around, me shining my phone torchlight towards them so they could see where they were headed.
As they set off in different directions, I sat, looking around. Those old wine bottles. Bags of old Christmas decorations. Paint tubs. An old crib. Tents. Sleeping bags. Spirits. 100 different planks of wood.
The smell of wine barrels, dust, and something else astringent filled my nostrils.
The air was cool and comforting. Yet something musty surrounded us, the smells of yesteryear hanging low there, reminding us that they would never float away, no matter how long that door remained open.
It was the scent of memories.
That’s what it was. Memories. I may never smell that scent again, but I will never forget it.
Today, I did some washing. Hung it in our backyard.
I baked some muffins. Scents of banana and cocoa filled the walls within our home.
I ripped out old plants and dying branches from flowers that desperately needed a good prune. I tidied it up…
To make our home look more pretty.
And it was all the more convenient and timely, that I did these random, but interconnected odd jobs, as the theme unifying it all was that of the home.
Tending to the home.
Using the home.
Filling up the home.
Because on this day 4 years, we bought this home.
I made the winning bid.When I think of that day, I have to shake my head in disbelief sometimes. It was 4 years ago, but many parts of that day are still so clear to me, even now.
I remember the well wishes I received the morning of the auction by some amazing family and friends.
I remember driving up with my Mum and baby girl… and being so nervous, that both Mum and I had to stop at a servo to pee on the way.
I remember arriving 15 minutes into the inspection before auction. I remember the street being FULL of cars. I remember nosy neighbours walking off, having had enough of a sticky beak, not caring to see who would get the house.
I remember NOT ONE auctioneer approaching me as I wandered through the house for the final time before the dum dum daaaa! moment.
I remembered my sister seeing the view from upstairs and saying “it’s a great house” but saying it in a way like “shit, it will be competitive.”
I remember my bro-in-law saying similar words, saying he’d overheard a lot of interested parties talking about it.
I remember all of us standing outside in the front yard, with the strong Winter wind blowing around.
I remember baby girl running around the yard as the main auctioneer started his spiel, referring to her in his opening monologue.
I knew then, that that was a GOOD SIGN.
I remember him motioning to the water views behind us, while I secretly cursed him – “don’t remind them of the views!”
I remember him saying that the winning person could celebrate on the main street afterwards at one of the many cafes, and the desire was so strong in me then, because we had been to those cafes and those restaurants. We had walked those streets, we had holidayed here, and we had done our research.
We were ready.
I remember the auction beginning, and Mum standing near baby girl, watching her run around while mumbling under her breath that the price was going too high.
I remember my sister positioned closer to the nature strip, creating a barrier so that baby girl couldn’t escape.
And I remember my bro-in-law standing behind me, ready to whisper words of advice.
I remember staying quiet for a long time.
I remember the TOTAL SATISFACTION (this is SO clear to me) when I put up my hand, and made my first bid.
The auctioneer looked at me, and his expression conveyed something else.
I had come in later. He knew I meant business.
And I remember how when I made the second, third bid, one of the agents made a beeline to me, thinking he could now help me.
Huh. Where were you guys INSIDE the house?
I had my own agent behind me 😉
I remember holding that winning bid… and the auctioneer urging others to jump in… while I begged in my head “please no, just let it be over…”
Then, IT WAS OVER.
There was clapping. There was cheering. People around me were genuinely happy.
And we were over the moon!
Inside, a familiar face! I saw the agent I had been talking to leading up to that day… He had been hiding out with the owners, of course.
I signed contracts with shaky hands, and snapped a photo of the interior, with the price tag, to Hubbie.
HE WAS OVER THE MOON.
After celebratory photos with the auction board, we headed to the main street.
Mum, sis, baby girl and I had our celebratory coffees and treats.
And when we got home hours later, Hubbie was on cloud nine.
I remember all this so fondly, and I don’t think I can ever forget such a momentous day for us.
A day where we realised our big dream of sea changing, a day when we made it.
And so when baby girl snapped a sunset from my phone this evening (I’ve trained her well) I didn’t think much of it…
‘Til I previewed it later.
It was blurry. Much like a memory can be. But there was that lawn. I could still see that sign in my head.
The guy who was standing to the left of me… the two ladies on my right. The family of four who I thought of often, comprised of a couple with their two young girls, who walked off half-way through the auction…
I hope they found their dream house, just as we found ours.
Now there were different plants, different colours, and different people coming in and out…
And 4 years on, there’s no place we’d rather be. 💖🏡🌅🥰
Firstly, look at that board game. This thing is from the 80s, super early 90s, TOPS. Can you see the frayed edges, sticky tape holding the sides together, the whole bottom thing just about to fall apart?
I’m surprised I still have all the pieces.
I have a thing, for keeping and maintaining my cherished childhood items. Board games included. If you think this box looks ancient, you need to see my Monopoly box… it looks like it came out of an archaelogical dig, ha.
And even though my Mum hasn’t found my full deck of Uno cards back at my childhood home, and Safeway beckons me with a brand new deck at a price of $4, I still won’t cave in and get the shiny new thing.
I will search and search until I find all the draw four’s damn it.
Tonight was a big deal for me. Every time we have played together as a family, I have never won. Always Hubbie, or baby girl. When I realised this, I told myself that next time we played, I WOULD WIN.
Hubbie started motivating himself, telling me he was gonna get me during the game. Uh huh. I just kept going, quietly confident, determined, strong and yet not overly showy, pushing, persistent, focused, willing, wanting, until….
It means so much because
a) I finally kicked their arses, and
b) I wanted to make a point to myself.
I used to think more positively and with a sunnier outlook, and it was so easy too. However a lot of things have happened to make me doubt my inner voice and inner wisdom. So much so that to think, feel and believe in a positive outcome, scares me to no end.
It scares me because I don’t want to feel disappointment. Again.
So I don’t think positive… not like I used to, anyway.
But this was a tiny experiment you see. A test, on something small, insignificant, to see if I could work the power of my mind to give me what I wanted.
And it did.
Coincidence? If you’ve been around long enough, you know I don’t believe in those…