Last night saw Dave & I venture back to our outer western suburban roots, & back to the in-laws house for the first time since Frankie was born in celebration of my brother in-law’s birthday. To get to the in-law’s house, we pass through our old suburb & it’s actually the first time I’ve seen it since the day we left it.
Our entire move is a bit of a blur to me because I was a flurry of post partum hormones, ravaged nipples from incorrect attempts to latch Frankie to the breast while I learnt to breastfeed her, & still hobbling around the way only we woman do who have just three days prior delivered their 8lbs & 8oz bundle of chubby newbie joy. It’s safe to say I was deep within the trenches of that brand new newborn daze, & all I could really do was watch Dave pack removalist boxes around me while I tried to settle into life with my second babe, & desperately tried to learn to breastfeed Frankie (for the record, I succeeded, & am still succeeding – but for the record, I am also open to ‘failure’, & I will not be beating myself up if at any point we have to switch to bottle feeding her like I did with Max).
Slowly but surely, more & more boxes were packed around me, & on that final night before we left our house – the one we both thought we’d live in forever, I was basically caring for a newborn in an almost entirely empty house. And still, I could hardly take any of it in, because I was just very much so deep within that aforementioned newborn daze.
Driving past our ex suburb last night stirred up so much emotion for me, because now that I’m out of that brand spankin’ new newborn daze, I’ve realised I never got to walk through the house & take it all in for the last time. I really wish I did. That house truly was built with the intention of being ‘the forever house’, & so I wish I’d just walked through it a final time so that I could properly say goodbye to ‘the forever house’, & all of its accompanying memories.
Dave first drove me out to that suburb before it even felt like a suburb. It was just blocks upon blocks upon blocks of vacant land available for sale, & actually … I was there under the impression that we’d simply taken a wrong turn & ended up in the middle of flippin’ nowhere, surrounded by dirt. I was wearing blue tracksuits, a white singlet, nil bra, & not a scrap of makeup – & that’s when he proposed to me, right there on the pile of dirt that we ended up building our house on. Y’see, his wrong turn was never actually a wrong turn, but a vision for his future – our future.
Now I have the memories, all of the beautiful memories – the happy, the sad, the growing up we did together in that place, the guest room that became Max’s bedroom, the way I’ll always remember driving out of our driveway when labour began with Max – I remember telling myself to take our house in as we pulled off down the street, because I just knew it would look different & feel different upon our return, & I was right. We’ve laughed in that house, cried in it, argued in it, & then made up in it. We hosted Max’s first birthday in our backyard, & enjoyed first, second & third Christmases with Max. And that lemon tree in our backyard? Planted in memory of the twin pregnancy that we lost. We just squeezed so much life into the four years that we lived there, & I guess I’ve just been wishing that I’d taken one last tour – just so I could take it all in before we pulled out of our driveway for the last time.
Instead, we quickly packed Max into his toddler seat & screaming Frankie into her baby seat & really just had to get out of there as quickly as possible – because screaming children just have this way of distracting you from something like saying a proper goodbye to your ‘forever home’, & so we simply charged out of the driveway, & I don’t even remember turning back for one last look because I was preoccupied with my trying to pacify our brand new all screamin’ Frankie.
When we drove past last night though, I got to bask in the daydream a little & say a proper internal goodbye to our first home. I miss it, yes – but I have to be honest, family life is – as predicted – better where we are living now for a multitude of reasons, & I really believe it will just continue to get better. In fact, the only real thing I’m actually struggling to say goodbye to in regards to our ‘forever home’ is the incredible neighbours we had who lived next to it.
They were like family.
But we made the decision to move here with family in mind, & the improvement of our family life – & I can already tell you now that it really has improved, dramatically.
Photograph by Clare Martin Lapworth Photography