…my home is in many places. A little bit of my heart chips off every time we leave a place- and whilst home is where my heart- my little family- is, these strings are pulling from other places.
Driving alone in the front seat, two sleeping little ones in the back, always leaves me with words spilling out, needing to be written. Recently these drives have been towards Home with a capital letter- the place I spent my childhood, until at eighteen I married and moved to York. The winding roads through the rolling hills, past farms and into leafy tunnels through familiar woods and past Cotswold stone walls have left a longing in my heart for a place which I often don’t yearn for. Until I drive towards it, the landscape changing, gradually growing more and more familiar. Past the turning towards my idyllic countryside primary school, down the road which I walked through my teenage years from school, to the house I spent almost my entire childhood in. A huge amount of change and memories, friendships, activities, family times all echoed in that place.
York, our newly wed home was only our residence for a year- but I often think of it as a golden year. Certain times, places stick in my memory, imprinted on my mind and surface at strange times. The walk from the train station to the city walls crops up a lot. The corner our flat sat on. The lake in the park. One short year was in a way a selfish year- outside of work, Josh and I got to spend lots of time just in each others’ company, newly weds cooking meals, watching films, chatting, just being together and negotiating the first year of marriage. It was a sweet, simple year- walking the city walls, visiting the Fudge Kitchen, serving in our church youth club, learning to drive. We schedules our lunch breaks to coincide so we could share food and watch trains come and go in snatched moments. Cycling over the bridge to the station before the sun was up, hours on my feet and the sweet relief of returning to our little, first home.
Leaving York was sad but overshadowed by the anticipation of starting four years of life in Sheffield, university and getting settled there. We didn’t spend too much time looking back. And while York has a piece of my heart, a special one, Sheffield holds an entirely different part. Moving from a city where we had made our home of four years was hard. Planters had been built, walls painted, friends invested in and roots grown deep. Sunshine and showers, joyful days, difficult days, they were all walked through there. The difficulties of first-time parenting, toddler steps, the second baby, the degrees which we poured into. TIme in the library, the sunshine, the parks, the Peaks. It is easy to idealise a place we were so settled in in retrospect- and we certainly didn’t always have blissful months of perfect happiness. Life was, and is real, and hard and easy and joyful and difficult all at the same time.
Our second little home, up in the attic holds sweet memories all of its own, including our first foray into parenthood with our adoption of Poppy-cat and her subsequent kittens. In those walls we found out we were expecting to expand our family and prepared to become parents, typed away at our essays and assignments, indeed there I began blogging. The city remained the same, whilst our home changed from skyline view to school chatter past our door, and our lives changed hugely. I imagine one day we will take our little ones to the hospital they were born in, the house they called their first home, the university which they were so much a part of. So many friends, relationships, memories, challenges took place in that lovely city, and I imagine we will always think of it with wistful fondness. A chunk of my heart was left their with our friends, our church, the memories of baby laughter and toddler feet, the perpetual scattering of toys and small objects on the scratchy brown carpet.
If home is where the heart is, mine is scattered about. Gloucestershire, York, Sheffield, and now Oxfordshire all hold the pieces. As always the biggest part is here, with me, in our little (rented) home.
It’s a little impossible to sum up so much living in so many places, but here’s a few pictures!
PS. You can read my Testimony Tuesday post on Holly Barrett’s blog here!