People aren’t homes – but some come close.
Welcoming you in with open arms and open doors,
Making room and space for you to fill,
To spread and grow up into,
To leave marks in stained floors and mudded carpets,
Water drenched flower beds and crayoned walls –
Mess met with a sigh, a smile, and a tidy.
Sweet tins hidden in cupboards,
Campbeds pulled out from under mattresses,
Boxes of duplo waiting behind sofas,
Videos of cartoons lined up against the VCR,
Antique lamps subtly repositioned,
Pound coins for pick and mix located,
Towels poised and ready,
A house and a Nan prepared for any child who ran in.
All weathers, all seasons, all of us together,
Summer holidays meant eggy bread breakfasts and water fights that were timed to the meter, drenching birdbaths and greenhouses and windows,
Being turfed out into the fresh air to dry off, cycling to the park where we’d push each other on swings, scrape our knees falling off bikes and riding the dog,
Poking our skin with twigs as we played pooh sticks on the bridge,
Tirelessly traipsing back home to be met with a glass of juice and potato smiley faces to play games of spirographs and pretending to be the United Nations, trading our dinners for Japanese armies and Playstations,
Interrupted by escaping budgies and the complicated arrangement of beds and mattresses and sofas to finally fall into,
As it got colder, she only got warmer,
Decorating the ceiling with red and green diamonds and tinsel that brushed our heads and dazzled when hit with by fairy lights from the Christmas trees,
All of us in close, elbows and shoulders, shoved into the fancy living room, Laughter high and spirits higher –
Boxing Day noise rising as we stole presents from each other, kids playing cheeky but the adults playing cheekier,
And she was there, at the heart of it, in her chair,
Slyly trying to hide her growing mountain of gifts behind one of her grandchildren.
She taught us lessons only a Nan could teach,
To always finish your drink before leaving the table and to only cycle on the paths,
That when a dog goes missing in the park, they will always come back for dinner,
That family will always, always come first.
People aren’t homes, but she was ours. We love her, and she loved us,
Told us every night when tucking us in,
when stretching up to give us hugs as we towered over her,
when sending a text with no punctuation –
“God Bless, Good Night, Sleep Tight,