I am surrounded by packing boxes. They spill their contents like urban rubbish bins. We filled them up in one life and now we’re unpacking them in a different one. Without the packing cases I’d move on more easily. It’s really only all this stuff that attaches us to the past. I have driven along our old road and looked at the houses where the people opposite live. People whose lives I have known, although I have not known them; who no doubt casually observed ours too. They’re usually not at home when I pass by. I wonder what they think of the change that has happened opposite them. Do they think about it at all? Have they noticed?
I see a little bit of grey material underneath the top layer of one of the boxes and give it a tug. Up it comes from the depths as though a lucky dip win. It is my daughter’s old coat, a little crumpled, very small. The label says age 2. Three buttons are aligned each side of its double-breasted front. On each the smiley face on a luminous sticker grins out. Already I have difficulty remembering where they came from. I think they were given out each time we went to a little toddlers' art group. Placed there perfunctorily by the kind lady who ran it, but well-loved by my daughter. Now I remember. A different time. A different place. I suddenly feel a keen sense of change; of loss. But of course we haven’t lost anything. Just time. I want to wrap my daughter up in her little coat and transport us back to those days, simply because we can never return.
My daughter wanders into the room and comes towards me. “What are you doing daddy?” she asks.
“Just unpacking” I say.
“That’s my coat!” she exclaims “Oh! Look at all the little faces.”
“Daddy...” She says. “Do you think the little boys and girls in my old school miss me?”
“I’m sure they do” I tell her supportively. “Do you miss them?”
“Uh, well, not really” she says. “I like my new friends more.”
I smile again and put my arm around her shoulders. Then I fold up the coat and put it into the bottom of a drawer.
Monday, 24 March 2008
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I was delighted to see an entry pop into my reader again.
A lovely piece.
Was about to send you a message asking if you'd moved yet.
So lovely to see you blogging again and how wonderful your daughter is happy with her new friends - makes all the angst worthwhile.
New beginnings - happiness and health to you all.
Thank you xbox, very kind. Good of you to keep faith...
Hi atm. It's nice to start again, lots of people are stopping I see! You're exactly right and thank you for our good wishes.
oh hurrrrraaaahhhh! so glad the move away didn't involve leaving blogworld behind as well, it just remains for us to work out where you are. How fab that your daughter has embraced the move; it's all about how they feel first isn't it? I hope she's enjoying her leafy green, quiet, new suburban friends. And that you are too...
I'm thinking that these rss feed reader malarkies must be a man's approach to blogging; xboxnappyrash has one, and so do you. It says very organised to me.
Hi Pig, and thanks! No, it wasn't my intention to leave this world. You are absolutely right -they continue to feel as they start off feeling. Ignore at your peril! Not sure abot manliness of feed readers but they are useful.
Good to see you abck blogging, have missed your wonderful entries. Good luck with new life- aren't kids great, they move on so quickly, tho I'm sure most of her security is the fact that you're still there for her, mimi
YOu almost make moving sound appealing, which is good as it looks like I'll be doing it sometime soon....complicated only by the fact that my little girl s also due sometime soon. Good to hear from you again!
Moving on is always a mixed experience, but following the ebb and flow of life is the path we all go down. Be happy in your new home SAHD.
Thank you so much mimi, it's good to be back. Yes it's a marvel how a happy child can move on in life...
Good to be heard Kelly! Good luck with your move; the right one can be appealing...
Very well put Marianne and thank you for your good wishes.
Aaahhh. Hello there and you live up to your reputation I am sure you are pleased to hear!
That is so lovely and poignant. All we lose is time. Yet out of the mouths of babes....
.... a big smack of reality in the face! (But it doesn't hurt.)
That is one very "head screwed on right" little girl. You must be proud.
For the record, I was doing the same sort of stuff last night with old school and nursery work with the 18 year old. Never throw it ALL away. Keep a bit. Just for you. And her.
So pleased to see you back.
Moving is a definite ending and beginning all at once.
You lose the fuzzy sense of continuum because it'll always be
"We moved here when I was 3/6/9" and that will separate one stage of their lives from another.
I find it unbearably sad for some reason, but the children don't.
Mine have missed their friends but have also made new friends.
They see positive aspects to both their former and current schools - so I guess it gives them a critical awareness that school isn't just school, but a place where teachers prioritise different things according to the prevailing ethos.
Although they wouldn't put it quite like that!
Hello and good advice cc. Reputation?! Always a smack in the face but that is maybe what I am most of proud of ... I suppose...
Hi bm and thank you. I too find it unbearably sad .. as I guess you can tell. An eloquent comment and a post in its own right.
Thank you sahd for popping by and for your comment! I haven't been around for a while - sorry. I'll catch up!
I haven't been around much either lifeshould... Best of luck with everything.
You're back, which is a reason to be cheerful. But your post, like many of your finest, made me want to cry. You write the poignant stuff so well. Looking forward to hearing more about your new place and how you all get on there.
Thank you iota and very nice to hear from you. The poignant seems more important somehow, don't you think?
Ah - There you are. Glad you are back.
Hi marywin. Thanks and great to be here!
Oh Yey! You're back! So glad to read your lovely words again. And you've moved! I'm soooo jealous. What a great feeling to start again, find new things, places, people... all far more exciting than the drudgery of the same ol' day to day. Don't be sad. Look ahead - it all looks shiny, new and exciting!!
Glad you see you're back to blogging. xx
Hi lilly. Thanks for the welcome, you're very kind. And you're absolutely right too, in an ideal world every move would be a positive one...
Thank you backpacking dad, I appreciate you breaking your journey here. Will come and visit...
really good to see you pop up again. and great about the move... have you moved far from london? do you miss it? hope you have met some nice new friends too!
Hi Elsie. Hope all's well. I lost touch in the move. We've moved a couple of hours west - to Cheltenham. All very nice and all coping although I miss some of it of course...
Wow, you are not that far from us - we are just a bit further west. Cheltenham is lovely.
Look forward to hearing more
Thanks - will be writing more about it. Where are you?
I've been hoping you'd come back. I love your blog!
Thank you very much maggie may. How kind. I'll be sure to visit.
I echo all the rest - but they got the best words first. Welcome home.
Thanks OM. Blimey, is it April already?!
HUGE change, then - Cheltenham! I played the theatre there, once, the Everyman, a long, long time ago.
The good thing about blogging, though, is that no matter how far you move away you still feel at the same distance to us. Which is really quite close.
Happy times in your new home.
Thank you Livvy, I hope life's treating you well. The Everyman, ah yes I know it well. What did you do there?
Hi SAHD, glad you are back, I love reading your blog.
Hi Ms Anonymous. Thanks very much - very kind of you to say. Trouble is, as soon as I'm back I seem to disappear again!
So nice to hear that you're all moved and already unpacking.
Yes, they grow up and out of things so very fast. Hold tight to the memories and preserve them any way you possibly can.
I know how that disappearing thing feels :) Nice to read you again.
Best of luck in Cheltenham!
Hi Carrie. Yes they do don't they. You get used to adulthood where things change so little...
Nice to see you Merry and thanks. Yes, ideally we'd all be blogging all the time...
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