This is our house.

It isn’t that pretty, or fancy, or flash. But it’s a comfortable home, full of middens and love. It was my grandma Joyce’s home. She had it built for her 25 years ago, one of the first brick and tiles on the estate. After she passed away, we bought it from a family member. My only regret is that Joyce didn’t know that the only great-grandchild she got to meet would be raised in her little cottage.

Joyce’s cottage was so dear to her. When she went to hospital at the age of 92, and it looked like she would not be able to go back home to live independently, Joyce defiantly shut her mouth for the first time in her life. She refused to eat and when she spoke, it was in a whisper. She would depart this life, she decided, if she couldn’t go home to her cottage and her golden retriever.

The minute we moved in, it wasn’t Joyce’s house any more. Strangely, it doesn’t even remind me of her, even though it’s been her house most of my living memory. Maybe that’s what a home does…when you move in to its shell, it takes your form and moulds and shapes around you, like comfortable, worn pyjamas.

This is our shower.

Home to imagination, home-spun songs and stories. I shower every morning with Elki, and when I get out, she sits in the recess with her collection of toys and bottles and bowls and sings and makes up stories. I love floating round the house, listening to her weave a magical world, where octopuses talk to star fish about the weather and dolly tells Elka she had a good day at school.

This is Elka’s craft table.

Once a coffee table that sat on Joyce’s verandah, this table is now a station for creativity. I leave everything out for Elki, so she can come when she feels like it, and doodle, or sparkle, or draw. Shall we draw? she asks me. Shall we sparkle? She brings her creations to me while I’m washing up. Shall we hang this on the fridge? Considering how rarely I craft with her, and the fact that Elka doesn’t yet go to day care or pre-school, I am amazed where her inspiration comes from to make a starry night sky. The table gets messy…oh, so messy. It has seen a number of coats of paint. But it doesn’t matter. Mess can be cleaned but nothing can create these sparkling masterpieces like Elka.

This is the toy corner.

A series of buckets and baskets that at some point made sense, and now, are where all toys go to disappear. Occasionally, we rummage through and find half a wooden lemon or the back of the train. Poor Elka will get to school and realise that puzzles do in fact have all the pieces. But, it is Elka’s corner to do as she pleases. Again, I am fascinated and entertained by the stories and songs that emerge, whimsical and vibrant, involving Betsy or horsey or a hoola-hoop. Whatever.

This is our bed.

We three begin our day here, stretching and yawning, at 7am. Little blue suit scruffy hair generally ends up in the middle, tracking her way in half sleep to cosy up to her mother during the night. When the room is light, she kicks her little legs and sits up. Good morning, Mama. Did you have a nice sleep? she asks. Daddy’s still asleep, is usually the next statement. Did you have any dreams, Elki? I ask. Her reply, always is, Yes, I dreamed about you, Mummy. Melt. Can I please put these moments into an airtight bottle, and keep them stored safely so they never, ever go away?

Elka ends her day by putting on her blue suit, and snuggling under the doona. She at least starts the night on her side of the bed. In the dark, she snuggles next to me, places both hands on my face. Tonight, she says, Mama, I love you SO much. And with a wiggle or two, she falls asleep, her sweet breath close to mine.

This is our home, where little hearts are nourished and dreams sparkle like the starry night sky. 

Some days I think it is dagsville, and I wish someone very handy would pop over with a paint brush and repaint that awful 80s bottle-green verandah. But most days, I can never imagine leaving this little cottage. Nestled in with my little family, this is our home, and I love where we are.

{Linking in with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for ‘I Blog on Tuesdays‘}

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