So for the last three years, home has been a three bedroom flat on the top floor of my in-laws’ home (the same family home in fact that Annoyingly Handsome Husband grew up in – hmm must find a shorter moniker for him. Think I’ll call him Hank.) in a leafy suburb north west of Sydney.
His parents are lovely, big-hearted folk who, luckily for us, adore their grandchildren and so opened their house up to us (even though we cheated on our application and said we were a family of four and would only be there a year – and then promptly had another a baby and are still there wreaking havoc three years later).
They have withstood the thumping, yelling and shrieking shuddering down from upstairs with stoic good cheer, their once neat and quiet backyard now crammed with a trampoline and cubby house, and littered with an assortment of swords, lightsabers and small action figures, the setting for many an intense theatrical dramatisation of Good vs Evil. Despite our best intentions, we have completely taken over.
But our loud, chaotic, galumphing family of five will soon be bursting at the seams here and we need to not only give my in-laws back their house (and their peaceful weekends) but find a home of our own. Somewhere we can nest and settle down together for a while at least, somewhere I can finally get my beloved frangipanni out of a pot and into the ground, somewhere to welcome in The Next Big Thing.
Where is the big question. Suburbia doesn’t hold much appeal and as much as I like the odd nostalgic stroll through the inner city hood where we lived pre-kids, I don’t miss living there. The jammed narrow streets, the endless hunt for a car park and then lugging groceries home from blocks away, drunken youth carolling/arguing/beseeching beneath our window, the noise, traffic and sooty grit.
What I’m yearning for is space. Expansive open space. Preferably near the ocean. With some chooks. Maybe even a pig. Yes, yes most definitely a pig.
Good lord I have changed.
Has parenthood done this? Was it turning forty? I didn’t grow up a city kid. I had one of those idyllic childhoods in a tranquil bush setting with towering eucalypts and golden wattle and morning birdsong with a view across a misty valley that would break your heart. Later we lived on a small farm (no pig though) until I started university and the whole family moved to a bayside suburb of Melbourne.
Perhaps this yearning for wide open spaces is just life coming full circle.
But it is not just me doing the yearning. Hank is a writer too and after years of bearing the brunt of the financial load and working long weird hectic hours in the vortex of the 24-hour news cycle, he is tired and burnt out. The book he has been working on for two years remains unfinished, his film and music website lies dormant and unattended and my own creative projects have been intermittently shelved, due to lack of sleep, time and energy, oh and three kids.
But that is all about to change. I can see the future.
And there is a pig in it.
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