Is where the heart is, right? My parents built the home I grew up in from the age of about 5. (better first check that)
My bedroom had a window on the side of the house so the only view I had was of a fence. When the men next door worked on their cars in the driveway after hours with the lights on, late into the evening.
The house was built in the 70’s and my parents never did any major renovations, so to this day the kitchen still has its orange (sorry, mum, Mordarine) bench tops, its brown cupboards and orange spaceship lights.
They seemed to make them to last back then, right? But anyway, I digress, I moved out of home and to Melbourne when I was 19 years old, to study. This is probably when it seemed to be my home. It was a base, sure and my teenager “stuff” remained here, but it wasn’t really my home any longer.
When I was about 23 years old, my parents finally divorced. I say ‘finally’ because from about 12 years old, I knew it was imminent.
In the late 90’s (me in my late 20’s) I lived with my mum and younger sister (then 13) for 2 years, but while her house feels like a home, it doesn’t feel like my home.
It definitely feels like their home and when my dad had a thing for moving “stuff” around inside his house, much of my important childhood “stuff” migrated to my mum’s.
Every rare visit to both my mum’s home and my childhood home brings up different emotional ‘traumas’!
A visit to my mum’s, some 3 ½ hours north from Melbourne, upon arrival, as soon as you open the car door, a whiff of fresh country air, with a subtle pine and burning wood fireplace smell takes me back and refreshes me.
I was quite isolated and depressed when I lived there for 2 years.
But my dad’s house, doesn’t feel like a home. Over the 20 years, its felt like the ‘life’ left.
The good furniture is still there, the wall units in dark timber is still there, the timber chest in the billiard room that housed the stamp collection, the roll-timber desk and of course the beautiful pool table. (I call dibs)
Op shop finds have sprung up and taken root (or even stored) for some insane reason, where it’s not needed or used. Dad’s house seems strange, like time stood still, I got bigger, but ironically, when I’ve spent a rare night there as I did last October, when I went to my 25th High School Reunion. Kitchen cupboards, the laundry sliding door, they still sound the same. Like it’s been frozen in time.
My father did move on and found another relationship (weirdly with someone 20 years older) so he has kind of aged in a strange way, if you know what I mean. She has never taken up residence there and they maintain they are ‘friends’, although I suspect he has helped her financially.
Romantically mum never moved on and was busy being a single parent to my younger sister and didn’t make time to meet anybody.
While I’ve moved so many times in the last 25 years, my mum has called me a gypsy. I have desperately wanted my own home, where I never had to move again. A place I could renovate, plant trees in soil and put down roots.
My father in the last 10 years, while I’ve had my disability, has retired, slightly early to deal with bowel cancer, then bladder cancer. He has beaten both, a little worse for wear, but winning all the same and earlier this year he decided to sell his house. Not to downside, but for financial reasons he has upsized.
So, his house sold and the new house is not yet built and he’s renting for maybe 9 months in between. He’s not even renting far from the home I grew up in. He’s moving from 30 to 1/22, I know, insane!
I’m not sure how I am meant to feel about this. It has certainly bought up much emotional trauma for my mum who has clearly felt short changed for the last 25 years, since her divorce. I know, I’ve heard all about it, but while I feel a little sad, I don’t feel like I’m losing anything. If that make sense?