We Tell Each Other Stuff

Day 2 #365 Grateful. Grateful for cuts and bruises that need to be kissed.

From the moment your child can talk, they’ll begin making demands. Whether it’s the scream heard through a baby monitor only minutes after you’ve gone to bed, or the constant tug on your shirt from a toddler as you stand in a supermarket aisle. You’ll find yourself dreaming of a day when communication will be somewhat more effective.

Once you’ve moved on from “up” “more” “ta” and “no” you enter the world of “why”. Why is a game that begins with the nudge of an index finger into the flesh of a shoulder, it’s cute enough until it begins to pick up the speed of a jackhammer. I don’t miss why.

Once we’d graduated from why, we moved onto “what does that mean?”

“What does that mean?” will have you reaching into the depths of your own personal inner dictionary, or joining together in the light of a shared screen via google. The questions remain constant: homework, philosophy, existentialism. And you haven’t even finished your breakfast. This week the second little traveller wanted to know the meaning of an Arabic word that we’d read on a billboard, the day before the third little traveller had a question regarding astrophysics. The 4th little traveller (aka The Dictator) wanted to know why the boy who twisted the other boy’s ear in the playground was not being “banished” from the country. In his opinion it was worthy of deportation. The conversation then moved onto ethics.

This week over breakfast, the conversation somehow landed around the Pope and the catholic church. “Has he always lived in Rome?” asked the third traveller. G and I made the usual conferring eye contact, ready to handball the answer.

“I know this one!” the first little traveller was on the edge of her seat, dealing the answer with the urgency of someone wanting to be first to share the news. Her explanation of how there used to be more than one pope along with their various locations was given with great pride.

“I knew it, I knew something you didn’t!” she was beaming.

When I think of the little travellers and our favourite shared moments it’s the same pictures that colour my mind. The chats in the car home after watching them go about their daily lives. Whether it’s playing sport, taking part in a birthday party, or just messing about with their friends. There’s something incredibly beautiful about simple childish fun. Digging a hole in the sand and seriously believing you can make your way to other side of the world. Watching two little girls, nose to nose, eyes as wide as saucers deep in conversation about the flavour of the birthday cake.

And amongst the mundane and the daily drudgery of what do you want for dinner this week and who made that mess in the playroom, I find myself struck by the privilege to be part of a child’s life. This morning after returning from a bike ride while his father walked the dogs, I heard the fourth little traveller race up the stairs towards my room.

“Mum, Mum, I had a stack!” he was holding his arm at an angle to show me the blood running from his elbow. He was more proud than hurt.

“Shall I clean it up? Do you need a bandaid?” I asked while running a face washer under the tap.

“No. I’ve seen other people with badder blood than this – I just needed you to know.”

“Why?”

“Cause you’re my Mum!” he said rolling his eyes. “We tell each other this stuff.”

The demands. The why? The what does that mean? Families constantly evolve, grow and share. That’s what makes us a family. We tell each other stuff.

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