An ode to neighbourliness

Something wonderful happened to us a few weeks ago. We got neighbours!

I should probably explain that our house is on a large, battle axe block backing bush, in an older, established street. We only have one house actually next to us, and the people who live there are older with grown up kids – which is pretty much the same for everyone else on the street.

But then a new family moved in just over the way! With three children – a girl Little Miss’s age, a boy Picasso’s age and another boy a little bit older than Bookworm. Yes, it really couldn’t be more perfect. They all get on like a house on fire, and so far they have been for bush walks, played spotlight, built a cubby in the bush, played bikes and basketball, made a rope swing and established a kids club, and Little Miss is just loving having another girl around to play dress ups and fairies and do handstands with etc etc. Also, the Mum is just beautiful and I think will be a wonderful new friend.

Watching it all happen has really reminded me of my own childhood, growing up in a lovely community neighbourhood, where we were all at each other’s houses all afternoon playing outside or in the street. My memories of childhood are all kind of soft and golden, like a photograph taken on a late summer’s afternoon. I am so glad my kids are having that experience – I just love that when they get home they can’t wait to go exploring in the bush or play on the rope swing.

So here’s to good neighbours and great community!

A bend in the road…

I find myself at a bend in the road this week.

Sometimes bends can be exciting; other times they bring enormous relief; or perhaps a bittersweet feeling as one journey comes to end and another begins.

This bend is of the bittersweet variety, and came about because Little Miss told me she can’t fit into her car seat anymore.

This is the car seat in  question:









Now, this particular car seat has been in our family for the past nine years. It was Bookworm’s first of all, then Picasso’s, and finally, belonged to Little Miss. And now she has outgrown it, it’s not needed anymore, and I have been confronted by the fact that there really are no more babies in our house now. Nor will there be any more.

There are things I really like about this – no more night feeds or 5am starts. No more nappies or bottles or inexplicable crying just when you were ABSOLUTELY SURE they had finally fallen asleep. It doesn’t take three weeks to pack the car for a trip down to the shops anymore and my life is not dictated by nap times.

But…there are also no more newborn cuddles, no more babies falling asleep in my arms. I have this really clear memory of Little Miss as a baby that I hold onto – she was just born and it was after a night feed. It was raining outside and she fell asleep against my shoulder. I knew she was probably my last baby, so I decided to sit there and hold her and just enjoy her. I felt her breath against my skin and kissed that sweet spot on her neck that all babies have. It is one of the most beautiful memories I have.

I don’t really want to go back to babyland – but I desperately wish I could step back into that moment and experience it for just a few minutes. I really believe there is some part of my heart, some yearning, that is only satisfied by a little baby. But it’s not enough to make me go through it all again.

So we say goodbye to the car seat…and babies…and we look forward to all the fun of being a family with school aged children. I really am very glad to be here.

Only…contrarily…some part of me can’t help wishing she’d just stayed like this: