I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, but much of my early childhood was spent in Sydney.
My father is a Sydney native – born and bred. And despite the moving around and the short stays and the 27 houses in 29 years, going back to my grandparent’s house on Sydney’s North Shore has always felt like returning home.
In the midst of messy divorce, when all things were up in the air, my grandmother was shelter against the storm.
A beacon of warmth and acceptance and understanding.
Firm – which was sorely necessary.
Soft – melting into her embrace.
Bouyant – holding us up and out of the water.
And whether our visits saw us at Mackerel, taking a ferry into the city or simply playing in their backyard picking mandarins from the tree, my grandparents represented stability in a time that was more or less a tsunami of upheaval.
They recently sold their home of 25 years – the only home I ever remember them having. When they told me their plans, I wanted to wail.
No! Not my home! Not my childhood!
I was devastated that what I had always known would be ripped away.
Honestly, how dare they sell their home and leave me stranded? How selfish of them…
And then, when their home was sold to a young family, my grandparents moved just around the corner.
As in two minutes walk from their previous address.
And so I know that should I ever feel the need whilst visiting, I can stalk that yard – my Poppy’s veggie patch, the deck laden with passionfruit vines, the archway at the gate.
And that young couple will raise their young children there. My grandparent’s home – my home – will nurture another generation.
I can’t describe the peace that comes with knowing that house is still filled with love.
While in Sydney for the conference, I met my grandparents in the city for lunch.
Grace put me on a ferry and as the waves split and the wind flew, the ferry neared Circular Quay and I began to feel incredibly wistful.
For that time when a ferry ride was magical.
For when a trip to the city meant a ride in the lift of Centrepoint Tower or a milkshake in Grace Bros.
For my first experience of ballet on stage – which I attended with my Poppy.
For trips to all the places my grandparents were brave enough to take two small, emotionally exhausted kids and make some happy memories.
And while we ate our lunch on Friday, my grandparents and father asked me questions about the conference, about blogging, about what on earth it all is.
And all credit to them, they didn’t once look confused, or think I was strange, or baulk at the idea of me sharing my life here on line.
In fact, my Poppy asked me to email him the link to my website.
Hi Gran and Poppy! Thank you. Thank you so much for your love, your support.
For my childhood.
And to the tourists who were excited about the sights of Sydney and braved the spray of salt water and a fierce wind on the front deck of the ferry.
Who saw way more than the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge whilst I abandoned clutching my skirt to take these photos.
I am sorry. So. Very. Sorry.