Wednesday, November 23, 2011

in the middle of our street

I love that song, when I hear it and I think of my husband and all that he loves.

I think of all the kids whom I have feed at my table over the last eleven years and I think I am that mother in that song. I want to leave good memories, I want all those whom pass through my home to feel cosy and warm. My place has that feel even if it's not always that way when we are just the six of us. There is shouting, there are endless timeouts, there are battles over food, there is bickering and goings off to the garage to get away from each other. But ultimately it always comes back to glow.

I live at number 8. It's not a wonderful house: Its weatherboards clad and the tiles are three deep. I don't the have a picket fence and beautiful light-filled rooms with gleaming floorboards, or the minimalist cube extension, nothing that I see in Inside Out magazine.

I live in an OK rental house which we pay too much for. At present it has too many issues to even list. I will not have anything better than this place any time soon, prices in Melbourne are ridiculous.

Previously we were always able to move somewhere a little better than where we'd been before. Prior to living here we lived at number 10, right next door, with the white picket fence and gleaming floorboard. It was cute, it was great for us.

We had to move when our third born was about six weeks old. My landlord was moving in, I remember crying when she called. I was breastfeeding with the phone in the crook my of neck and I just cried and cried. Partly because we had to move from the cute place, but more because we had to leave the street. The landlord was brilliant, though, she gave us so much time and latitude she knew it was going to be difficult for us with such a tiny baby.

Then the house next door came up for rent and we knew the place well before the old owners had sold: We'd had working bees to break up concrete, we'd helped re-plant the front with natives, there had been multiple sleep-overs, our kids were sleeping in the bunk beds that the number eight kids had outgrown. We also knew about its problems. Even though it was more than we were paying for a better place we thought well lets try to get it, we wouldn't have to move out of our wonderful street and we would be spared huge moving costs. The space is larger (we were trying to be positive) but has some pitfalls, it's difficult to clean and has more than a few problems, a couple of major ones which the real estate would later just pretend didn't exist.

So I am still on this street and have been for ten years now. I love that kids can travel between houses, that we take kids off the others hands, that we are there for each other in good times and bad. They ride bikes together have water fights and jump on the communal trampoline, we older folks eat and drink and laugh and cry together.

The newish kids at number nine held a lemonade stand recently to raise the funds for a LEGO purchasing co-op with our kids. It was a lovely afternoon and the kids were thrilled to have made $10. My commie husband was also thrilled by their initiative.

This to me is community this is the sort of place we all ought to live in. I don't necessarily want a better house I want my neighbors to come with me if I ever have to move out. They are my community and my network, and I love them.


  1. Very warming Ines I love it :)) (sis)

  2. love this post. i wish more people would realise that living is all about being involved in and part of community. peter and i are renting and love it. we sat down last night to look at buying and realised we didn't need to. having happy kids and being able to do what we want without the burden of huge debt sits better with us. people are so competitive and want it all yesterday. they need to come by your street and buy a lemonade :). have a lovely day. hope all is well. xo.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful neighborhood. Creating some special memories for you and the children... I would buy a glass of lemonade if I were passing.... :)

  4. Great post. I think it is easy to compare the house you have with those of others and what you see in the media. But having a fancy roof over your head does not a happy and fufilling life make. At the end of our lives we will not look back and think of all the fun we had owning a fancy house, but we will certainly remeber all the fond memories of the people we had contact with.