It’s just a house.
It’s just four (wonky) walls and a roof.
Just a house.
Except it’s not just a house. It never is. It’s a home, and it’s packed with memories and the story of our lives together.
And now it’s sold.
In just over seven days, we’ll be leaving this house.
The house where Flea spent hours lying on her play table, creating imaginary adventures for her zoo animals. Where she made up songs about monkeys and played with the doll’s house.
The House Where We Grew Up
We arrived in this house a few months after I’d split from my husband. I was shell-shocked in that way you are after a major life change that you don’t choose.
I was in a new town. I had a dog, a baby, and zero cash. Oh, and no friends.
It’s been a long slog, this house.
I’ve repaired windows and chimneys and damp patches. I’ve remodelled kitchens and stripped floors and repaired more damp patches. I’ve knocked down garages and put shutters in, and found yet more damp patches.
The house is very different now, to when we bought it.
But so are we.
Flea has grown. Oh my God, she has grown.
She’s taller than me now, with her size seven (SEVEN!) shoes and her GCSE text books.
I’m sitting in our lounge tonight, where I sat the morning she started school. She wouldn’t stand up to pose for a photo. But I like this one better. It reminds me how much fun she was. And is.
This is the house where we brought home a tiny Teddy.
We had literally no idea how much hard work a puppy actually is. But she’s grown up too, into something approaching a well behaved, well-mannered dog.
This house holds a tiny thousand memories in every room. Silly things you forget (but that blogs exist to remind you of).
Like the time Flea got her finger stuck in a toy rocket, and I took about 20 minutes to rescue her.
One of the first things we did in this house was make the loft safe. Flea used to love to play up there, and built a virtual world of Playmobil.
There were pirate ships and pyramids and mansions and castles.
Now the Playmobil is boxed up for the charity shop and I’m just hoping someone can reassemble the mansion without the instructions. Good luck!
The thing about growing up is it’s not just for kids, is it?
I’ve grown into myself as a parent in this house. When we landed here, I thought I’d already failed, simply because I was a single parent.
But we’ve learned and made it work together. We’ve had a happy time, we really have. And I’ve learned that failing a 4-year-old is nothing compared to the panic of trying to parent a teenager through a hormonal phase.
And all the while I built my business. I’ve seen it through ten years – some great, some terrible. But I learned and survived, and supported us.
But it’s time.
Flea doesn’t need a playroom any more. She doesn’t need a dining room, or a play table, or a big box for craft supplies.
She needs a quiet room to do her homework and a (frankly) ridiculous amount of wardrobe space. She needs space to bring friends home, and hang out.
I desperately need for her to have her own bathroom. (so many showers! how dirty can she be?)
We’re a household of women, now.
We argue over who left their laundry in the machine, or which one of us used the last Tampax and didn’t put the box in the recycling (no prizes for guessing). She steals my clothes, and I hide my snacks so she doesn’t hoover them all up when she gets home from school. She’s finally learned how to make decent coffee.
We really need a new place for all of that.
I didn’t expect to feel sentimental about moving.
This is partly because a) I am Northern and b) I am really excited to live somewhere new.
But it does sting when I think I won’t be able to touch the fireplace where I hung Flea’s Christmas stocking, back when she was little enough to still believe. Is that daft?
It’s like closing a door on Flea’s childhood. And I’m not sure I was quite ready for that.