Jul 23

It’s 11p.m. on a Saturday night, and as I’ve done so many times over the years, I’m sitting in front of a computer thinking about going to sleep.

For many years I sat here because I had two young children and I was unable to leave the house.  Tonight is different.  My two now grown up children have left home.  Tomas leaving just this last Wednesday.  Tonight we party.   As I sit here in my own space, a room just for me and my computer, I have the sound of a party happening behind me.  There is the hum of voices and I can hear Caitlin and Tomas talking eagerly with their friends.  Every now and then there’s a crescendo as the stories are told and the voices get excited before everyone breaks off into laughter.  It is truly a wonderful sound of happiness, friendship and unsaid love between friends.  Tonight’s a special night.  For tomorrow the house will be empty.  I will no longer need to live in a 3 bedroom house with room for Caitlin and Tomas.  So, Michael and I will live in a smaller house.

My mind goes back to when my parents left the family home.  The home where we all grew up, all 11 of us.  So many memories of this great house in McIntyre Street.  My parents sold up and moved to Queensland.  I was the last to leave home and remember the intense feeling of sadness as that phase of my life passed.

And here I am again, at the threshold of the start of a new phase.  A free man, without the worry of who is home for dinner and what I need to do.  Of whether or not I need to be aware of who needs to be out the front door in the morning. Of whether or not there is enough cheese, bread or milk in the fridge.

Tonight Caitlin and Tomas have their friends here.  There are people here who have been friends since the early 2000’s.  They have visited us so many times.  They have been to so many parties here in this house.  This place is as much a part of their lives as it has been ours.

They’ve gathered in a circle, about 20 young people.  Their eyes twinkle, their faces are alive with happiness.  They seem to all be talking at the same time.  All around is delight and joy.

The TV is showing photos of our lives in the house and the guests laugh as their younger selves make an appearance.

There’s birthday parties, celebrations and photos of everyday life.  Our home is chocker block full of memories.

Every birthday was had right here, at home.  Friends would come and we’d celebrate.  We would decorate the house for a mermaid theme, or a scary party.  We’ve had a space theme, Star Wars and a Knights theme.

The parties end with all of us standing outside with sparklers and delighting in the sparks flying off in all directions.

We’ve been happy here, we’ve laughed and cried together.  We’ve yelled and been angry.  We’ve broken things and fixed them.  We’ve measured our height on the door post and posted our artwork  to the walls.

Mostly what we have is great memories.  This has been our home.

Like the sparklers dimming and fading, now is the time for us to fade too.

We’re going to light up the world in different ways, and every now and then, we’ll come together to shine.

That’s what our family does.



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