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House or home?

As you all know we are moving interstate. We are in the process of preparing our house for rental and in turn finding a new place to call home (at least for a while).

As we’ve had estate agents through our place trying to sign us up, it’s become clear that where I see home, they see house.

We’ve lived here a long time – 19 years. And our house/home has grown around us. In 1994 we bought a rundown 2 bedroom semi that has now, in 2013, morphed into a 2 storey, 4+ bedroom, 3 bathroom home (but alas still no driveway).

Our children have grown up here – moving and shifting around bedrooms as the need (and teenage desire for independence) arose. And in the process of growing up they’ve left their marks on the walls – quite literally.

There’s stickers on walls and furniture. There’s paint and other stuff that stains in various places. There’s holes in gyprock – a particularly big one arising from a tantrum, another from a famous wrestling match between brothers. We’ve still got remainders of stair gates on the bannisters, although we’ve not needed stair gates for years.

And we’ve lived with that. Happily. Maybe many people wouldn’t – fixing each mar on perfection as they arise. But to me, somehow these things are precious. It gives the walls a living memory of life and love and growth. I treasure these things.

And then the agents come through – and we must face the reality that these may be our memories and treasures – but nobody else wants them. We must patch, and fix, and paint until it looks if nobody ever lived here (well almost).

As we must remove ourselves from the house – it must remove itself from us. Taking photos of all these things (before they disappear under plaster and patching and the approved estate agent paint colour) is now a priority.

And our kitchen has it’s own story to tell. How many meals over all those years have been produced in our (now old) kitchen? It must be many thousands. We’ve made a small space work very well for us – even fitting in a dishwasher when no kitchen company thought it could be done. Our small kitchen is workable and functional – we have catered for meals of 20 people on countless occasions. It has served us and nurtured us well.

Yet the agents don’t see the nurturing, the family and community building our kitchen gives testimony to. They just see it’s small, old fashioned (well it was fashionable 19 years ago) with a distinct lack of the mandatory granite, stainless steel and glass that kitchens these days absolutely must have.  And it seems this will cost us hundreds of dollars a week in rental income.

At least twice since we’ve put in the kitchen we have seriously considered renovating it – even to the point of borrowing money. And yet – we just couldn’t. It was hard to spend so much money on something that basically worked – whose main crime was to be old. So we chose to prioritise the money on other activities instead. And our kitchen has never let us down. Despite the agents, we chose well. Money, I say, is not everything.

So our house has become like the favourite pair of shoes that fit so perfectly and comfortably – yet neither the shoes nor the house last forever. We must say goodbye for now. It’s hard and it’s sad.

But the consolation is we are only saying goodbye to a house, not to a home. Wherever we go, the home part of our house will always be with us. The home is more than the physical walls in a physical place. That’s just the house. The home, the real home, is always with us – and will be wherever we choose to make it.

So we look forward to finding another house we can make home, although hopefully with less stickers and paint on the walls. Hopefully one that can grow with us on the next phase of this journey we call our lives. Hopefully one that will help nurture us all in the growth that I’ve no doubt is about to happen.

So stay tuned… for the next installment on the moving front. Coming soon!

(Photo of original artwork in our backyard)

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1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Robinson

    A beautiful article from the heart. You have conveyed perfectly that home is those you love while a house is bricks and mortar.

    Sent from my iPhone

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