Heart prints

There are tiny handprints stamped and smeared over the glass doors that lead to the balcony, but they may as well be printed on my heart. Each time I look up past my computer screen towards the view, I see their unspeakable sweetness. This littlest gift in her chubby, dimpled, happy approach makes the rest of us go weak at the knees.



I haven't posted properly for days - the words in my head just evaporated into silence. My heart zippered itself tightly into a numb tent of disbelief and I am still feeling surreal. Alot of it possibly has to do with the fact that we are living in limbo, albeit in the lap of luxury, a spacious city apartment but without familiar home comforts like toys and games with which to pass daylight hours. The girls have been scratchy and flammable with each other; their new heights of bickering lead me to unzip my tent, poke out my head and growl fiercely before retreating back into the dim still place. This time is stretching them and they are relearning about sharing, empathy and not taking their blessings for granted. A few days after we arrived, they bravely joined the kids' church and were cast in the Christmas production which they will enjoy I believe. We were proud of them for taking new steps and not letting fear dominate their choices. At this stage not one of us is indulging in backwards looking - it would unleash a torrent of emotion, so we cautiously walk out further over the newly formed crust of life in this new place. When there is something good we discover, we celebrate it with enthusiasm and when things are sad, we blink hard and swallow and release our disappointment.
As far as hunting for a house went, we had a list as long as your arm of essential requirements - and by that I mean essential. Like rent being affordable and pets being allowed and enough bedrooms, and a reasonable commute into the city and please God, a garden. Each time I walked around our old garden in the last few months of living there, I petitioned God for a little treed nook just like this one I was leaving. On Saturday we spent 4 hours driving around and exploring the surrounding suburbs about the city and were feeling a little flat that the areas we could afford were so far out of the city, and looked so small and poky with dull square fenced in yards. We arrived back at the apartment and looked online again at available homes to rent, and both chewed our lips thoughfully as we look at a house we had seen many times online but in a totally different area to what we were thinking. We decided on impulse to call the agent despite it being nearly 6pm on a weekend. He said he was on his way to the house that very moment and could meet us there in 15 minutes. We ran to the car! The house is just over the harbour bridge and took about 10 minutes to get to from the inner city, which was a pleasant surprise. We overshot the number though, as it was smack on an intersection, like...ON. We turned around and found ourselves driving down a steep driveway down past several houses to a clearing at the foot of the drive. Nestled among the leaves was the house and once we had got over the shock of the steep descent to the house, we wandered over to find the agent. He was showing another group through so waved us off to explore the garden. It was just like the one I had left behind. Same size. Same lawn with bordering shrubs and trees. Room for the trampoline and a little path winding off into the native forest beyond the boundary with plenty of scope for the imagination and great fodder for my little explorers. I could hear doves and no traffic. We stood at the bottom of the garden and looked back towards the house - how could we convince the agent we were the people for this rental? But when we were shown through my heart sank - it was so dated and my taste in interiors gagged. The peachy carpets, the pink bath, the stained glass accents with autumnal brown flowers and birds and the overuse of my pet hate...pine, all flew in the face of my minimal urban style. The kitchen is one big wooden assault on the senses. I can do wood...if it is white or stained a very dark brown. Not garish timber orange. I folded my arms. No way. I cannot live in this hideous house - give me old fashioned villas any day, or retro vintage, or just plain neutrals, anything really, except PINE. Shudder. I pictured homeschooling amongst hanging baskets and bunches of dried flowers, wearing a long cotton skirt and roman sandals and making rustic patchwork quilts while I wait for my bread to rise. The following two days, my pride and dreams for a home that said AMY wrestled and writhed in a slow death. Finally on Monday morning we rang the agent and told him we would take the house. He had held it for us, giving us first option despite being offered a cash deposit sight unseen by another family. We knew it was for us. We move in at the end of the month. Please address all mail to the Orange Box and the Lady Whose Interior Dreams Have Died. God's sense of humour is profound. He found us a place that ticked all our boxes. All our needs. He didn't need to pamper my selfish indulgence in creating a haven space that inspires me. I thought He did. He says I can find my inspiration in Him. In nature. In my beautiful new garden and the birdsong. Not the knotty ceilings and tangerine-stained cabinets. In Him. Any ideas for decorating a timber rental in a contemporary fashion please feel free to leave comments of inspiration :)

The water fun photos were taken by Greg yesterday when he took the girls for a short walk after dinner to the fountain close to the apartment. I took the park and pond shots in a beautiful domain directly below our new house. In the shot of the three girls in the wooden lookout, our house is somewhere in the background.


Glimpses of the New

Goodbye Wellington...

Views from apartment

Maddy playing her flip ball game in our foyer


The bite of the last embrace

What bittersweet days. In my mum's words, it was like being pulled in the tension of waiting for a huge wave to crash. You sit there mutely, knowing it is coming but powerless to stop the drag on your heart as time stretches into impending impact. Knowing the grief will hit all of us hard but in a way perhaps the sheer relief of the waiting to be hit will present itself and we can get on with the job to kicking up to the surface and finding our bearings through the churning water.
We are perched on the edge of the future and I am sitting in the dark before dawn overlooking the lights on the downtown buildings of our new city. I am not in the habit of looking back but to avoid posting about leaving would leave out a huge chunk and the process of disconnecting from our community and life is a normal one that I doubt we will be able to avoid in the future.
The goodbye-bites ate me away over the days to the point that when we had no one else to leave, I literally felt hollow. Seeing the girls choking up and sobbing in their friend's embraces is something no mother really enjoys witnessing, and there were many many tears shed. Maddy was obviously intensely affected - saying goodbye is her undoing it seems. She is particularly sensitive and the agony of emotion was acute to her, heightened by her natural lack of tolerance to anything disliked. She said at one point "Mummy, it is just too sad to be true" while tears coursed down her cheeks. I could see what she meant. Kenzie has a sturdiness to her character but this faltered at the end and when it came to leaving school for the last time, and farewelling her best friend and spending the last moments with my mum, she got caught in the storm. There was a lot of stuff to be done, and without help I could not have achieved what was needed and between Mum having the girls and my bff's busy hands at work, the job was at last complete and I drove out of our home for the last time so grateful for my support structure. I am also deeply thankful to have been able to live in my sheltered clearing in the trees, my simple little home that was never locked, the gift of incredible friendships I have shared there, the cups of tea in the sun on the couch, my baby growing through her first year - from waving newborn tiny fists to crawling with laughter over the lawn, my girls swinging under the cherry blossoms and running down the driveway, the birdsong, the space to heal and dream and paint. My brain drummed the tattoo "I don't want to go, I don't want to go" all the while my arms were wrapped in the last embrace and my legs woodenly walked me to the car, the waves and blown kisses amongst the new batch of fresh tears, the tattoo tapped on. Along my familiar streets and further away from the memories, tap tap tap and the tears just streamed. For an hour. I felt like a wrinkled and shrunk balloon by the time we reached the hotel we were staying at for the night. I lay on the alien bed when Greg took the girls off for a walk, and wrapped myself up in unfamiliar bedclothes, sinking into the silence to try to comprehend the magnitude and reality. I am still numb and my limbs still obey the dull orders sent from my head, but the spark is too wet to strike and I am too waterlogged to fly right now so for the time being am just existing while I wait. To feel alive again.


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