It’s all relative.  I showed some ladies at my massage place a photo of my partner (who happened to be standing outside my parents’ house), and the ladies were completely blown away by how big my parents’ house is.  Conversely, a few years ago, someone whose parents live in a large house was surprised that my parents’ house is “small”.  But big or small, the most important aspect of a home is this: does your children (and grandchildren) look forward to coming home to it?

Because a house can be lonely and meaningless, however grand, without love, laughter and yes, mess.


Someone once exclaimed, “Oh, your parents’ house is small!” (compared to his parents’, which was HUGE and sprawling with a garage for several cars and rolling lawns).

I was surprised, for I have never thought of my parents house as small or big. It was just home, a place I loved best. I used to sit at the kitchen table doing my homework with my younger brother, and the same table is still in the kitchen. I still have my old bedroom.

My parents had put everything into their lives, which included us, rather than bricks and mortar, i.e. huge houses. “Our children is our wealth,” my mum used to beam proudly.

At 80 years old, she and my father travelled thousands of miles to visit me in Thailand and my younger brother in Australia. Along the way, they were feted by friends from all over the world, the people whose lives they have touched.

My father’s first PhD students are now eminent professors themselves, and many are grandparents. And these people showed up in their numbers to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday in Bangkok, where they used to live, as well as in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

My parents always came home to a (small) home in a sweet little town in southern England, where they have known the neighbours for over 40 years, and more importantly, where their children and grandchildren return to frequently to visit. Because it was a house where every brick is warmed by love. My mum never minded the mess or the noise.

When I see this photograph of my family at my mum’s dining table, I can imagine the lively, feisty conversations and laughter going round (as per norm). How I long to be home in that small house, more than anywhere in the world. Yes, we are Hobbits in the Shires, as you can see here ❤

Build a home your children want to come home to x

Related post: Of happy homes and wonky vegetables