When I’m ‘going back again to Yarrawonga’ (as the song goes), I say that I’m going home. When I’m going back again to Dimboola (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it), I say that I’m going home. Sometimes, to make it really clear, I refer to Yarrawonga as ‘home home’, which obviously demonstrates a sophisticated knowledge of the English language. Recently, I’ve had cause to think about the concept of ‘home’, what it means, where it is and where I want mine to be.
In the past I’ve written about the challenges of living away from your nearest and dearest (and I’m still in the same state, I could never live overseas!) and for the last few years, I’ve harboured a semi secret desire to return to the tall trees, winding river, massive lake and bendy bridge of my childhood. But there was always a few things in my way. Shane, mostly. Why did I have to fall in love with someone from so far away who had a farm AND a pretty well paying job? I’ll skip over a few things here and get to the point that we no longer have the farm but Shane’s job still pays well. But then, most jobs do when compared to teacher’s wages (I’ll leave that can of worms closed). The planets aligned for a brief period of time and Shane got a job back ‘home home’ and we set the wheels in motion for the big move. It was all systems go for a few weeks. Serious enough for me to clean out my wardrobe, the boys wardrobe and think about the write up for realestate.com.au. And then circumstances changed (which I won’t bore you with) and shit got very real.
What ensued was a very intense period of introspection in which I had to really think about what kind of life I wanted, what opportunities I wanted the boys to have and where, ultimately I wanted to live (ok so it was a constant negotiation and conversation with Shane, but since this is my blog, it’s all about me).
In Yarrawonga, the boys would be close to lots of their cousins – first, second, third etc thanks to my fairly large extended family who still live there and have offspring. They’d be able to hang out with the kids of my friends who live there and the school yard would pretty much resemble the next generation of us. I liked this idea. In Dimboola, they’d be able to forge their own path and not be constrained by the fact that their mother was responsible for the creation of strict hair colour rules at the school. Our house is a bit ‘unique’ and could take a long time to sell and we may not be able to buy the kind of house we wanted. What would I do with an alpaca in suburbia?? Not to mention the sheep and goats. But how good would it be to be close to mum again? We had a VERY extensive list of pros and cons just like this that we hashed out and rehashed and talked about until I would sometimes put a ban on all discussions because I feared my head would explode. We consulted far and wide with friends and family and the general consensus that came back was, ‘you have to decide yourselves’, which, whilst incredibly diplomatic, wasn’t entirely helpful. I wished a thousand times that I could run it by my dad because he would have known what to do.
So here’s what we decided…we’re staying put. If we love our house much, why not stay? If we have everything we want out of life here (except for my extended family – which, I admit is a bit heartbreaking and big compromise), why not stay? I subscribe to the belief that you should have a life that makes you happy every day (well, give or take a few) rather than living for your annual holiday. And we have that. As I lay on the lawn today and watched the boys play with their bikes and Tex chew on his gruffalo, I thought, ‘ain’t life grand?’ It is. For the most part. We don’t get many visitors out this way, but that’s ok; it would mean I’d have to really clean the house instead of just clean it! And there seems to be a bit of a ‘tiny house movement’ at the moment, so we’re kind of trendsetters. Which probably isn’t surprising…(this is sort of a joke, but I have been known to start trends).