K likes the feel of carpet beneath her bare feet.
R is happy to see her toys, a tea set filled with endless cups of imaginary tea.
Lee likes being indoors–sans flies–in a house he renovated.
I like not having to trudge across the campground to pee in the morning.
But the house feels big—too big, after the four of us in a trailer for a year. K says, “I can feel the bigness even when I close my eyes in bed at night.” Often Lee and I wake in the morning with both girls squeezed into our queen-sized bed.
Moving back in was a pain, especially for Lee, who’d taken all the furniture apart to fit into a small store room, and had to reassemble everything again. So much stuff! . . . But the girls were thrilled to see Tony, the shared Strata cat.
It’s good to come home and see friends—a year older, a little stressed from city life, but much the same. “Wow, it’s been a year, already!” Everyone says.
To us, it feels we’ve been away a decade. Or more.
All the things we’ve done, the places we’ve been, all those long languid days in the bush–it feels as if we’ve been traveling for years. And there’s so much I didn’t write about, like the time we drove down a long dirt road in the Outback to a campground we weren’t sure existed, “Do you ever wonder why we’re doing this?” I asked Lee. He nodded vigorously.
There are moments etched in my memory: eating fresh oysters on Perlubie Beach in South Australia, where we camped just meters from that clear blue sea.
Kayaking on the Ningaloo Reef with sea turtles swimming all around.
Lying in bed in the dark of the trailer and hearing a pair of barking owls on the Gibb River Road, then getting up, stepping outside as dawn arrived and seeing them perched side by side in the tree above.
Watching R ride a bike for the first time through the scrapyard where we lived with friends in Darwin.
Cooking bread on the fire in the bush at night, and then—with Lee and the girls—devouring the entire loaf, still hot, smothered with butter, as we sat under the stars outside our tent.
Lying under the night sky in Budjamulla with Kaitlyn, waiting for, willing a shooting star to sail across the sky—and then it did!
Walking to the top of Mount Kosciusko with K and R and my father, through snow—the first snow the girls have ever seen.
Lee’s been working since he got back–he’s go so much work on. School starts Monday. My semester begins on 20 Feb. And here we are, back in the swing of things—play dates and shopping, parties and work, endless texts and emails, meetings, dentist appointments, schedules, protests, a house to look after, and Tony the cat.
It’s not all bad, but what a year we had. What. A. Year.