Our trip to Melbourne was fleeting — just long enough to get settled before we had to leave again. We stayed at my grandfather’s house. The same one my father grew up in, where he played backyard cricket as a kid and kept score by writing on the side of the shed. The kitchen still remains in its 1970s orange laminate renovated state. With grandpa’s post-war home nestled on a quarter-acre block — apple, apricot, fig, and plum trees grow in the backyard turned orchard.
Living in an inner-city townhouse, we have no lawn for Eva to crawl around on, so she excitedly explored the garden — ripping at the grass and pulling flowers from their beds.
I have so many memories from my childhood of being at my grandfather’s. Numerous summers and Christmases. Waking up to fresh coffee, breakfast being made and the whistle and sounds of my grandfather singing: “Oh, it’s great to get up in the morning, but it’s better to stay in bed…”
As my brother and I grew up in this household, so now do our children. Although, Eva will have no real memory of her Great-Grandfather, her cousins will.
We spent our trip just hanging out as a family. No rushing around. No plans. Just spending time together. We took advantage of Melbourne’s fantastic cafe culture — having brunch and making coffee runs.
We took Eva to the Brighton Beach Boxes where she felt the sand between her toes for the first time. Unsure of the new sensation, she kept on the blanket.
This trip has made me realise how much I miss having family close by and more importantly how much Eva is missing. With Johnny’s family in America and mine interstate, we try to have weekly iChat sessions with everyone, but you can tell that Eva is so much more responsive when she sees them in person. It is amazing to watch how much she thrives on the attention and interaction.
Eva excitedly flailed her arms about and tapped to my father’s singing. Chased and crawled after her 4-year-old cousin, Riley. Attentively listened to her Aunty Miwa reading her books. Attacked her Uncle Jamie as he worked on his laptop — slapping at the keys. And calmly allowed her cousin Hitomi to hold her and carry her from room to room.
With only weeks left until Eva’s first birthday, a whole host of family will be coming to visit and I’m sure at some point I’ll be glad that everyone lives so far away. But for now, I just wish we all lived in the same city.