Saturday, 11 May 2013

Birthday presents

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are invited to celebrate a birthday today. Stupidly, we have left presents to the very last minute. They are a little disorganised and me, I am a lot overwhelmed.

We put our heads together and come up with ideas a near-teenage girl might like. Chocolate, books, puzzles, dvds, charm bracelets and music. The latter is out, immediately, because after Dowland I lose the thread, and Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are disdainful of all boy bands.

We come up with presents, of course we do, and the party is great celebratory fun, with balloons and games and cake.

When you are young, the time can be filled with great astonishment and wonder and expectation.

It is, if you are allowed a moment of it left to yourself, and your own devices, free to wander about and stare at impossible creatures like ladybirds or the fragments of a pigeon wing half-eaten on the path.

These are the wonderful inexplicable moments of childhood we should allow children time for, so they can hold them and carry on with them through their lives, finding astonishment and wonder and expectation as they grow.

I am grateful, hugely thankful, to my rather neglectful mother, for demanding I push off out of doors and don't come back until tea-time. Because now I am old, now I feel old, now the dead bit of me is eating up the living, I find gorse bushes are still beguiling and treacherous, blossom still needs throwing to the winds, and the feathers from dismembered pigeons still invite my curious gaze.

I am not a very good present-giver; I fall back on bubble foam and flannel. But if I could give any present, it would be a package of curiosity, a burning desire for exploration, a sense of adventure, and time.

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