Written by Telaine Feeney
Home in my adolescence was the rustle of turned pages.
Words in books fed my envy of the unknown.
Those stories told me home looked like freshly baked, choc chip cookies after school. Family gatherings every Sunday. It looked like a Mum and Dad, a spare room, tv room, dinner tables always set.
I grew up in an insecure environment. Security was never known as a foster child and the world I
discovered from local libraries established what I thought ‘HOME’ was.
I didn’t have anywhere to call home, and, in its absence, I built what I ‘thought’ it should be. I chased a dream.
So as a young, single mum walking into a hostel weeks before Christmas with a toddler on my hip, one suitcase, defeated … I hated myself. I had failed to create the dream. I was powerless, filled with sorrow and terror, I sat on the bed provided, my son next to me with his matchbox car, feeling a yo-yo of numb mindlessness and pure panic. I cried for a mother I did not know. I cried for what I wanted desperately – a home.
That Christmas we had a big lunch at the shelter.
The mix of people was astounding. Some had recently gotten out of jail and could not get accommodation, some had mental health battles, some were domestic violence survivors, some were alone, and some had children too.
I truly believed I was different. That I did not belong there, that I could not relate to these homeless people.
And yet, that Christmas Day as strangers cheered my son unwrapping his present from the shelter, as over our disposable dish’s life stories were shared, I felt something inside shift.
I know now that feeling had been hope. My journey to being curious about what I had always deemed ‘normal’ began. Home started to form a different image in my brain.
Now home is five children, a grandchild on the way, laughter, adventure, and acceptance.
It looks like a tiny little A-frame house on acreage, vegetable gardens, tank water and a pet pig called
It is filled with photos, art, termites and sometimes the chicken eating Lucy the python joins us. It is a single parent home with lots of rushing around and teamwork.
Cookies are usually burnt as the kids make them, Sundays are for dancing on the lounges and
preparing for the week ahead, something is always broken, the volume is high, and my tribe are wild. It is dysfunctional, laughter, tears and safe.
It turns out home was not what I escaped to in the pages. It is what I manifested through hardships,
lessons, failures, and the realisation that it is perfect to be perfectly imperfect. Home is laughter, tears, and safety to fall.