Dear Dave

Friday 30 April 2010

This is what cameras are for

Dear Dave,

Have I mentioned we're having our kitchen done? I think it's possible I might have let it slip once or twice. Not that I'm panicking at the imminent arrival of a horde of tradesmen or anything...

They'll probably have large hammers and thick, Glaswegian accents. They'll wave the hammers in my direction, mutter something I can't understand and then look at me expectantly. I won't know whether they're wanting a cup of tea or asking if it's OK to install the oven upside down because it fits better that way.

I'm not sure I can cope.

I was thinking it would be over in a week but then I realised I'll still have decorating to do after that. There's also the small matter of moving all the stuff back that I've just spent a week moving to other parts of the house. I've done my best to thin things out but there's still a ton left. Even getting rid of this car was more effort than I imagined:

A small, grey car for a toddler.

Fraser got it for his first Christmas but even Marie's been too big to ride it for at least a year now. It's been tucked under a chair in the kitchen, gathering dust, since about 2007. As such, I imagined I could safely take it to the charity shop without causing too much fuss.

I was wrong.

When I mentioned I was taking it away, Fraser wanted to keep it as a memento of childhood memories. I pointed out that if it stayed, it would have to go in the loft and he wouldn't see it again until he had children. Before he could reply, however, Marie chipped in with, "When I was small, I used to keep magnets in it!"

This brought various recollections back to me. The seat of the car slides open to reveal a storage area big enough for a medium-sized cuddly toy. Managing to press down the catch and slide the seat at the same time is beyond most under-fours, however. All three of my children spent happy years putting stuff inside, closing the lid and then crying because they couldn't get the stuff out again. Usually they got me to endlessly open the lid for them; occasionally they simply wandered off and forgot about the whole incident until much later when I'd already searched the entire rest of the house for their favourite snuggly, my phone or their brother's trousers.

In general, the thing drove me rather crazy. That said, the boys did have a ritual for a while where one rode through to the bathroom to get ready for bed on the car and the other followed on a similarly dinky trike. It was the Teeth Train. When it didn't run over my toes, it was pretty cute.

As the kids gathered round the car, sharing their memories, a lump formed in my own throat. They'll never be that small and adorable again. Surely one push-a-long car couldn't fill the house...

Then I came to my senses. The house is already full.

"If I take it to the charity shop," I said, "someone else will get to play with it and enjoy it. Isn't that better than it being stuck in our loft?"

They reluctantly agreed and said their goodbyes. There was much patting, fiddling and squabbling over it. Lewis stroked it and gave the horn a few final beeps.

Sarah and I looked on. "What do you think?" she asked after a while. "Will we get treated this fondly when it's time to switch us off?"

I did a quick mental calculation of the ratio between the annoying and delightful memories I might invoke in my offspring when I'm old, obsolete and my stickers are peeling away.

The numbers didn't look good.

I shook my head. "I wouldn't count on it," I said.

Then it was time for school and work and one last final, final beep.

As soon as everyone was out the door and round the corner, I made a hasty sprint to the charity shop before anyone (including me) changed their mind.

Goodness, if we're like this over a toy car no one's touched for months, what's going to happen when the Glaswegians with hammers try to take away the tiles from the kitchen floor?

Yours in a woman's world,


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