Oh yes, dear, lovely Housekeepers, we have moved in and though there is still one room full of boxes, the rest of the house is more than liveable and best of all, I have broadband and can enjoy your company all over again…
Here is what relief on this scale feels like: the gentle deflation of one who did not realise she was holding her breath. A hot bath after a long, long day. A hug from your Mum. It is all this and of course it is so much more to I who holds the very premise of “home” so dearly to my heart.
I am trying not to rush this new love affair of mine. Trying not to be in a panic about creating picture-worthy rooms or creating a home before I understand the house. For this is what it takes to make a home: familiarity with the peculiar quirks of the bricks and mortar – the door handle that will not close for you. The sliding door that opens with a startled groan. The sunlight streaming through the skylight on the landing. A heating system we do not yet understand. The bedroom door that slowly opens all by itself in the dead of night.
But there is so much to love: how sunny this place is compared with my former dark little nest. An abundance of cupboards to delight me. An under-stair cupboard Harry Potter would be thrilled by. Floors that are easy to clean. A proper hallway! Glorious coving and ceiling roses on ceilings so high one would need a ladder in order to waft a feather duster about. And a garden that will when it is finally completed be quite the perfect blank canvas for a gorgeous outdoor space.
At first Finley wasn’t sure. The day we moved in there were tears. Tears that spoke of too much change. The worry of being able to walk to school and having to do without the chats in the car that have long punctuated our days, horrified him. But for the first few days, the house was filled with people: my Dad helping Ste to bring two vans full of my things here. Ste’s wonderful family arriving en masse to help us put the house together. The men doing the heavy lifting and the wise women controlling my dithering about what was going where and making decisions on my behalf they rightly told me I could always undo.
Finn didn’t have time to mope. We were giggling and erecting bunk beds. Drinking celebratory glasses of good wine and showing him how very close the park was. And all too soon it was time to go to school and he said I must walk with him. That I must meet him half-way upon his return for he would be worried about coming home by himself. He said he would get lost (impossible), that the clowns currently harassing school children around these parts would no doubt chase him down a dark alley and kill him stone dead while cackling like crazy witches, that he might (oh heaven forbid) get run over if the lollipop man turned out to be a weirdo he could not allow to see him across the road.
He said all this and then two girls knocked at the door and asked if he would like to go to the park and all to soon my back garden that isn’t quite yet a back garden was filled with an assortment of teenage stragglers and he was showing off his moves on a scooter and I stood baking a ginger cake at the kitchen window and knew without a doubt that all shall be well.
For this is what I want you to know today: all shall be well. Even when you are buried up to your neck in fright, soon enough all shall be well. I so desperately need to remember this lesson: all shall be well. Even the darkest night is eventually blessed by the rising of the sun and we just have to have faith. And patience. Yes. Patience matters. for it is when we are not patient: when we work ourselves in to a frenzy believing that nothing will ever be right again, that the stress and fear manifests itself in depression and physical ailment and we find ourselves petrified by the unknown.
And so today is the start of this new life of mine. I have enjoyed a lovely week, puttering here and lugging stuff about there and now it is time to start establishing new routines. The rituals that will sustain us here. A commitment to the shape of our days in this house that will help us thrive.
This morning I did my miracle morning routine and felt alive again. Yoga on the living room floor, watched no doubt by an audience of bewildered men in hard hats. I have been to the local supermarket and bought a little bunch of berries and woody flowers for the sideboard. Lit a black pepper candle in the kitchen. Taken delivery of a sofa I bought for a song and sipped at a carrot and ginger smoothie sitting on it rather delighted with myself.
Later Ste will arrive home after a 24 hour shift and I will lay the table so we can all eat together before taking a magnesium bath and slipping in to bed in a room that looks for all the world like the storage room of the home for retired books…
Darlings, I do believe this is happiness. Boxes of books and all. Won’t you help me make this house a home?
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