My son turned six today.
For him, he had a ball.
His favourite two things are minging around the house, and hanging out with us, in that order.
So that’s what we did.
Which is lucky.
As the other choices were pretty limited, anyway.
I queued up in the ASDA car park, 2 metres apart from all the other shoppers, waiting to be admitted to buy his extensive request of party food.
It was a fantasy list of everything a six year old would eat if there were no rules, no boundaries, no parents to say ‘you’ve got to be fucking kidding me,’ under their breath.
Coke. Cookies. Fairy cakes. Sausage rolls. Crisps. A big cake with smarties on top. Donuts. Haribos. Ice cream. Chocolate buttons. Fanta.
I bought the lot.
It was a diabetic coma in a trolley.
We’d also bought all the gifts he’d asked for, which were surprisingly modest in comparison to his banquet.
It including worry dolls, so he could tell them what he was fretting about, put them under his pillow and have them disappear by the morning, which completely broke my heart.
See, I don’t know how to answer half of his questions.
Some are tricky…
I don’t know how guinea pigs say sorry to each other.
Or why blueberries aren’t called blackberries, when some are more black looking than actual blackberries.
I don’t know how Rebecca Rabbit manages to do all the job she does in a day.
Or why your nails grow faster in the sunshine.*
I don’t know why mixed fruit squash tastes nice, but if you mix orange and mango squash together yourself, if tastes revolting.
I don’t know any of these things and lots more besides, but that’s OK. I say I don’t know and he’s also OK with that.
It’s the other tricky questions that are harder to not know.
The ‘when can I see my friends properly?’
‘Will I go back into year one at school?’
‘Will we be able to go for a pizza after swimming again soon?’
‘Are we allowed in the park in the summer holidays?’
‘When can I see Nanny again?’
It’s those questions I can’t answer. But that doesn’t seem adequate. When you’re little, you look to your parents as the holder of all knowledge.
If they don’t know it, it’s probably not worth knowing.
But this shit really is worth knowing. We all want to know the answers.
Yet we have no idea what the future holds. What the world will look like when all this is over, if indeed there is such a thing as ‘over.’
I’ve purposely stopped watching the news, the ignorance of not being plugged in brings a bit of relief.
There’s a day by dayness to everything at the moment. Like we can deal with what’s in front of us, that hour or afternoon or week, but the long-termness is just too much for our brains to cope with.
And when we do, a lethargy takes over to protect us. A tiredness. Like hibernation.
But other days, or hours, or minutes are shrouded in optimism.
Seeds start to sprout (YES! Who isn’t a wannabe Charlie Dimmock in lockdown?)
Bird song seems louder.
It’s possible to cycle down the street without feeling like you’re going to be knocked down by oncoming traffic.
The world is continuing regardless.
While we are home.
We can’t answer many of our children’s questions right now, but we can squeeze them a bit tighter.
Be that worry doll for them.
So they won’t need them anymore.
* Apaz your nails grow faster in the sunshine as our body produces more vitamin D in daylight, which is important for nail growth. So that's one question answered anyway...