My mum is moving house, for the first time in over 30 years. This might not seem like a big deal, but for me this will be the first time that my mum has lived anywhere but 'The Cottage' as we call her beautiful home in Scotland.
I was carried over that doorstep as a baby and stepped back over that doorstep on my wedding day. Between the two, there were years and years packed full of memories. Most of them were ordinary day-to-day memories: playdough at the table, wet clothes on radiators, lentil soup on the stove, tucking into bed in my old room. Some of them were unhappy memories: my parents' rowing as their marriage fell apart, the room my mum spent all her time in when going through chemotherapy. Some of them are shining memories: my dad coming in in the middle of the night to tell me I had a baby brother called Jack, decorating the Christmas tree together as a family - dad untangling the lights, rediscovering familiar ornaments, and that moment when you switch the magical lights on, getting back late after family nights out and talking into the early hours.
I've been trying to write a blog post explaining how I feel about mum moving. I'm delighted that she's sold the house as it's what she wants and she has fallen in love with and bought an equally beautiful house. It does feel quite strange through, and I have been worried that those stone walls contain my memories, and that after I can no longer go back there, I will lose all these little pieces of my story. I've been feeling sad about never seeing my beautiful childhood home again, or my Arab horse who will have to go to a new family, or walking on 'the white hill', covered in silver birch trees. I thought about writing about bringing my toys down from the loft and sorting through them, trying to decide what to part with.
While I was trying to think about how to write this all down, we went to stay for the last time. It was emotional at times. I did feel sad to be leaving and knowing I would never come back. I don't like change and goodbyes.
Something else, however, took over my thoughts. Last week in my mum's tiny village, the lady who lived two doors down from her died suddenly in the night, leaving four small children aged between one and nine. I didn't know her well but had met her a few times. She was most often seen bustling past for a long walk, the picture of health, with her own four children, dogs, and usually a few extra children too including mum's fostered ones. I grew up with her husband, who has lived in the village all his life and at 6ft 10 is a gentle giant.
I can't even begin to comprehend this tragedy - for him, those young children - and for the mother who didn't know she wasn't going to see her precious children grow up. It upset me a lot, and gave me a great big dollop of perspective. Let's face it - a little lump in the throat over leaving your childhood home, is pretty bloody indulgent in comparison.
Every poignant thing I had imagined doing - my last walk up on my hill, my last walk through the house, my last view of the cottage from the car window - was hugely swamped by a massive feeling of gratitude. I was leaving, yes, but I was leaving with my family. I was going back to my own beautiful home, and, God willing, I was going to spend time watching my perfect children grow.