I hadn’t been interstate to visit my Step-Dad for a while, and I finally made it last weekend. It was so good to catch up with him, and to be back in the family home, sleeping in my old bedroom.
It’s funny how when you go home after a long time that you both notice the changes and the familiar. By changes I mean things like furniture that’s been moved, new china or freshly painted walls – they stand out, and make the place feel somewhat different, a little less familiar.
You also notice the things which are the same – your teenage bedcovers, the board games in the cupboard and the ticking clock… they all remind you that this is ‘home’.
There are so many memories tied up in your family home. I know not everyone has had a good experience of childhood and home, however I was blessed to have a wonderful Mum and Step-Dad, and I remember fun family times both whilst I was living there, and also when I first left home and came back for meals! Oh the memories tied up in that kitchen, over the pots and pans and dirty dishes, or around the table eating food cooked with love.
My mother was bought up with the importance of both nutritional food, and that it be beautifully presented. Our meals were always at the table, with a cloth on, with the food on serving plates and dishes for you to serve the food yourself. We had fabric serviettes, and were expected to know to properly set the table. With us all around the table, there would be much talk and sharing about the day. That table heard many stories!
Now Mum has passed away, but the family times are memories which will stay!
Another thing I really noticed being ‘home’ again, was the bird song. In my own home neighbourhood there aren’t many tall trees, but lots of small trees and bushes, and so we get small birds, with soft, sweet chirping sounds. At Dad’s, they are surrounded by old forest, and so they get larger birds with louder voices. From early morning I could hear the stirring tweets as the forest woke up, with an increase in volume as the sky lightened and the sun rose…. a cacophony of cockatoos and galahs screeching and kookaburras laughing. It was very much the sounds of my old neighbourhood, and very special.
It got me thinking about the grounding we get as children from our families – the messages both spoken and unspoken about family values, about behaviour, expectations, and belief systems as to how things ‘ought’ to be done. As I’ve written about before, children are like sponges – they absorb all that we say and do, including those values and beliefs. Much of how you operate now as an adult stems from the messages you picked up as a children. Sometimes we replicate the same behaviours without a thought – we just do it. We generally continue to do the same actions and responses until, or if, someone challenges us – then we have to think about it. This often happens when we partner up with someone whose childhood messages were quite different from ours and this may cause ‘discussions’ or arguments!
Being home reminds me of all the good things I wanted to share with my children, and a few I chose to do differently.
What messages, values , behaviours and beliefs are you instilling in your child?