Today marked the end of an era, today I farewelled our old house. I rattled around in its empty rooms, J crawling around at my feet, his excited cries echoing around the walls.
This old house, it was our home for six years. I first walked in its door with a young man I’d just started seeing – he cooked me dinner. After that, I was a regular visitor. I fell in love with its cottage charm, its views down to the valley below and the hills in the distance – all the little houses dotted amongst the green. I also fell in love with the man who lived here. Five months later, I moved in.
We were young and fancy free, walking up to the pub 20 minutes up the street and stumbling home after a few too many. It was on one of these stumble homes that the same young man got on bended knee and asked me to marry him. On an overpass, on the side of a main road. I cried, he cried. Drunken revellers hugged us. It took us over an hour to walk home to the house that night, calling family and friends all the way. And once home, the ring was dug out from its hiding space and I was proposed to again. Hardly the stuff of traditional romances, but it was our romance. It all happened in this old house.
We knuckled down a bit, budgeting for the wedding and the honeymoon and we married a year later. Adam embarked on a four-year electrical apprenticeship so the budget continued to be tight. This old house, with its cheap rent, gave us a chance to keep saving while still enjoying ourselves. There were no plans to start a family yet – we thought we’d go there in 2010, when the apprenticeship was over.
But in the summer of 2009, not feeling myself – a period missing in action – we went together to the chemist up the road and bought a pregnancy test. It was the day after my 30th birthday. We sat in the back room and dipped the paper strip in the pee sample. We watched as the strip formed two dark lines and as the realisation dawned, we hugged and I cried. We were pregnant. Not according to the plan, but we were overjoyed. I knew this old house would make a great home to welcome our new baby.
And it was. The second bedroom got a facelift from spare room to baby room, and with budget wrangled yet again and the rent still cheap we worked out we could afford for me to take a full 12 months off work.
Then in October 2009, when Baby P started his descent into the world I laboured in this old house for 17 hours. A few days later we brought Jarvis home. And here he grew from a screaming newborn into a crawling baby and then a cruising almost toddler.
It was a great little family home, although it was small it had everything we needed. And throughout Jarvis’s first year, with so many appointments at the hospital, I loved the fact that home was only a five minute drive away.
It’s hard to say goodbye to old friends. This old house, you’ve served us well. You’ve seen us grow, laugh and cry. You saw us fall in love and welcome our first child. You watched as we each found a life path. You helped us feel content with what we had, that little was large and that all we needed was right here, in these four walls. In this old house.