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Creating a home

The fire is blazing, the fan from the Koonara is humming and the room is filling with warmth. Daryl and I are sitting on our most favourite couch, a large, red, 6 foot long pillow filled with foam and down. This for us is home. When we are away, this couch, for us, symbolizes home. Cocooning us are the suede textured, sandy coloured, rendered walls that have felt the touch of our tired hands, sculpting and smoothing over the surface. Four months, through the cold of winter, we had our hands in clay, layering the walls that would then give us shelter. Shelter; making a place be a home, providing safety and a space to gather, to grow up in, to cook and be nourished, to renew ourselves and go out from. And together we sit here now, the boys completing a puzzle on the carpeted floor and I, pressing my hands into Daryl’s, sigh and allow the effort of our years of work to be acknowledged in the depth of contentment I now feel.

We did it! As primordial as it felt and was, the satisfaction is undeniable, not only on a practical level but also deep within. We have come a long way. Although committed to each other, when we started building there had been a tension in our relationship that could no longer be concealed by the everyday busyness we worked within. Issues were bubbling to the surface and along with the mass of decision-making and opportunities for self-expression when ‘creating’, the tension soon broke us in two. It was a frightening and enlightening time of change, expedited by our desire to find a way to love each other truthfully without the pain of past errors. The emotional journey of reconstructing the family had to take place. And so by listening and sharing, by being vulnerable and caring, our love expanded. We laughed and liked each other again. Wounds healed and new wisdom gained. It took some time but slowly we began to work on the house together again.

Over the 2 years it was a challenge to find a comfortable balance between building, parenting, housework, being a friend, having a social life, taking time for self, life in community; it was all compromised and I found it unsatisfying that it wouldn’t all fit into my life the way I wanted it. Every aspect felt incomplete or half done. But it was a feeling I had to get used to, I simply could not do or be all that I had in mind. And over time this was offset by the success we saw from our work. Our pride swelled with the blood, sweat and tears we shed as every part of this house felt our touch, transforming it now from the timber and straw it once was, into a house and now a home. A family moved in, us, and now, we live together in the calm, turbulent, swirling tidal ebb and flow that life with each other is. And it is good.

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