Most days my daughter has some small work of art in her hands at the school gate. A piece of A4 paper revealing a roughly coloured bunny or a ragged splat of paint. She taunts me with them. “Ooh, is that for me?” I ask hopefully. “No daddy. This one's for … mummy”, she replies, matter-of-factly. “Oh”, I say, downhearted. Then she produces another one from behind her back and says without a flicker “And this one’s for ….” I brighten momentarily, “…me.”
There’s never one for me. Yesterday she said she had one for me, but that it was still at school. It’s become a daily routine. I don’t know whether she sees it all as humorous or if it’s simply that by my ever-presence I don’t rate such gestures. It does make me a little sad though. I want to be given something just for me. As it is I have to steal other people’s pictures to fix on my pinboard. I probably made a mistake by showing my disappointment the first time it happened and she fastened onto it as a little battle she can win in a war in which I generally have the upper hand. In the difficult and confusing world children inhabit, these victories must mean a lot.