Every time we pulled into the driveway of our Churchill home, the three of us would never fail to say to each other "Here we are... home sweet home".
Over the past 11 months plus, that cosy light brown brick 3 bed-room house indeed became home and hearth for us three, and I felt sad saying goodbye that final time when we pulled out of the driveway and headed into Melbourne.
And now, a week later, we're back in Singapore again - our original Home Sweet Home.
It's been exactly a week since this mother took the 7+ hour flight back with a 2-year-old in tow. That day, I leant heavily on the patience and goodwill of fellow passengers, stewardesses, and airport ground crew for help when the toddler got especially testy and impatient. I think the sight of me, a heavily pregnant woman with a sprightly boy certainly helped tugged at the right heart strings! Thank God he wasn't the only noisy child in the cabin too!
Tonight also marks the end of my sojourn as a full time mom, as my no-pay leave ends tomorrow and I head back into the office as a reading professional again. Here ends a wonderful adventure learning to cook 3 meals a day, experiencing four seasons in a temperate and beautiful part of the world, and most of all being loving mother to a baby who became a toddler and beloved wife to a med student.
Well, that's not really true - I still am beloved wife and loving mother - just under different circumstances now. God forbid I ever forget that!
Being home is truly an assault on the senses.
Walking out the double sliding doors of the cool air-conditioned airport, we felt again the familiar heat and my skin almost instantly turned moist with perspiration. The air felt heavier on the nostrils, but strangely it was a good sensation, and the smile on D's face on seeing his grandma and grandpa made it all worth it.
In these climes, smells also assault our olfactory senses more keenly. It's a good thing I'm well past my first trimester sickness.
Parking the car at the Esso Mobil petrol station on Thursday to meet up with M for breakfast at Chin Mei Chin's, we walked past Carlton and that unmistakable aroma of the corner shop's wanton and soya chicken mee brought me right back to all our frequent meals there.
Yes, I think to myself, this is home.
D was unsettled the first night back home - waking up three times in the night refusing to be settled until I sleep right next to him.
He's improving now, and I've decided to move into his room until he settles into a routine and feels more secure in this new environment.
He is now able to remind me that "Daddy (is in) Australia", and thank God for Skype he is still able to kiss his Daddy goodnight before turning in for the night.
And when I came home late from a wedding dinner last night, I found him happily asleep in his bed, tucked in by grandpa and grandma.
Which makes me reasonably confident that even though this blessed boy has had mommy right next to him 100 percent over the last 11 months, he'll take to the care of his grandparents well and will adjust to long periods of my absence well too.
I suspect I may have a harder time than he in this transition!
I'll miss my little boy so much, that I wonder if all my cuddles and kisses in the morning, before his breakfast, and cuddles and kisses in the evenings before his bedtime, will make his absence and my guilt any easier for me to bear.
I guess we'll soon see, won't we?