June 8, 2013 § 1 Comment
In 1963, my mother and father bought a block of land in northwest Sydney and built a house.
When my father became a paraplegic the house was extended to include a family room, extra bedroom and bathroom with wheelchair friendly rails.
When he became seriously ill and bedridden, he lived in a bed in that new family room. I was three and playing on the floor nearby when he died.
I grew up in that house, left for a while in my late teens and early twenties, and returned to live there when I was pregnant with my first child. We stayed until he was two. My mum finally sold and downsized in 2002.
In 2001 Sol and I moved to QLD for a change of lifestyle. Since then we have lived in eight different houses (and in a Buddhist monastery, and in a tent)!
When I was growing up, home was a safe, stable place in a world of uncertainty where parents suddenly disappeared and struggle and vulnerability took their place. Since Robin has been ill he and I sometimes go and stay with my mother overnight, and I get filled up and replenished by that feeling of ‘home’. When I look back, it wasn’t just the house I grew up in that gave me the security I needed; it was also my mother.
In our time in QLD, our different homes were important to me. We were in a new state with no family nearby, and so I wanted a stable place for my children. In 2008 we lost our home and income in quick succession. I was devastated and terrified. And I felt like a massive failure as a parent.
But we put on a brave face and turned that loss into an adventure fruit picking and living in a tent for four months. Then our tent was flooded and we were truly homeless for a night. We ended up in emergency housing for three months while we sorted ourselves out financially. Again, I was devastated and felt I’d failed my children in not being able to provide a permanent home.
Five years later I can finally see what I got out of that experience; the true meaning of home. Of course our physical homes are important – with all our ‘stuff’ we can lead a regular suburban life that is very satisfying and fun. Home is where we can undress, be comfortable and be ourselves.
But I’ve come to enjoy changing house every couple of years; it’s a good opportunity to de-clutter and to create new rhythms and intentions in a new energy space. Each house we have lived in has influenced our lifestyle; beach house, acreage house, bush house….
But more than that; home is the stability and security we’ve created between us as a family. Our travels and difficult experiences have taught me that change is permanent. As and adult and mother I ‘hold’ the energy for our family…. that makes a stable safe place for my children. That makes a ‘home’.