We live in a house on top of the hill and for the past six years it has been our life, but the time is fast approaching for us to move. There are many reasons I’m ready to move on, but I keep finding myself wandering around the house and filing away memories. It’s like I’m trying to stuff my brain with all the moments I’ve shared here with my family. Each moment, I recreate in my mind, then wrap in newspaper and pack away for safe keeping.
This house has been so kind to us. It was the first home my husband Twiggy and I purchased together. We bought it off an elderly couple who built the house in 1970. She designed it. He spent most of his time burying large objects around the property (we suspect to save on dump fees). He also stashed a gun in the roof, but that’s another story. They loved this house, it was their pride and joy. He was dying from cancer, she needed to be closer to her family. It was their time to move, but you could sense the reluctance. If they could have stayed living here forever I think they would. They made the real estate agent set up a meeting with us before any contracts were signed so they could decide if we were worthy of buying their home. We ate cheese on jatz biscuits and drank warm beer. We admired their floral curtains and promised to love their home and with heavy hearts, I could only imagine comes when age forces its hand, they agreed to sell. I’ll be forever thankful to them for trusting us with their past.
The house has been so very kind to us. It’s taught us a lot about ourselves, how much how relationship can handle and how shit it is to get bright yellow gloss paint off every wall. Twiggy renovated the house himself and together we chose colours, picked bench tops, fixtures, tiles and furnishings. I can even laugh at the “through clenched teeth discussions” at Ikea, now they’re firmly in the past. There’s been hours of painting, sawing, hammering, hours of cleaning dust off furniture and scrubbing mud off floors. I’ve squatted in the garden while heavily pregnant, he’s washed himself in the sprinkler. I’m amazed we made it though.
As I sit here and write and look around me, I feel immense satisfaction. Our house on the hill is gorgeous. We have views over the valley. At night we can hear the koalas grunting and in the morning we hear kookaburras. When we turn off the television, there is deafening silence. When we turn the outside lights off, there is blinding darkness. Unlike in the city, when the moon is full you notice how bright it is. And the stars truly twinkle when we stand outside with the girls and sing to the sky.
As the time grows closer to moving day, I’ve started to get sad. I’m scared when I go to sleep for the first time in our new home I will cry for what we’ve left behind, that I will cry with regret. This house has been where we’ve shared our happiest times. This is the first home our three babies have lived in, so far it’s their only home. It’s where we brought each of our girls home from the hospital, bundled in our arms, nervous and excited for who they will become. The enormity of those first few moments, introducing a newborn to their future, is forever etched in the very fabric of this house. It’s a house of firsts – smiles, words and steps. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of how quickly they’ve grown, how we began our journey as parents, how our relationship’s changed and strengthened. I’m worried that somehow we’ll lose those moments when we leave.
I now understand the anxiety of the original owners who sold us the house. A whole stage of our life will be left behind here, as was their youth. I know rooms don’t contain memories, our souls do, but still I worry we will be leaving a part of us in these rooms and I don’t want them to be lonely when we’ve moved on. I’ll do my best to wrap them up in my heart and take them with us to our new home, where they will sit alongside the new memories we will create. I can only hope our new house is as kind to us as this one has been.