Friday, 1 February 2013
A lopsided snow leopard, and tears
But he did.
Every day for a month a different child at nursery gets to take Oscar home. He comes with his own diary and his host for the evening writes down all the fun stuff they did together, sometimes with illustrations - either parent-aided or just the standard squiggles that can be deciphered only by a 3 or 4 year old.
Last year we had Bobby and it was a much-anticipated event. He went on a play date, to ballet class, to Westfields, he even got to stay up and have dinner with the grownups. Well, it was a special occasion. Missy G and I sat together and talked about what we would put into Billy's diary. We talked about what words she wanted me to spell so that she could trace over in her scrawl. We picked out different colours and I think we even did a bit of collage when he came to us in autumn.
Oscar is new on the block. New grown up class, nearly-ready-for-big-school kids. Missy G has been talking about Oscar for a few days this week, giving me a running commentary on who got to take him home each night, her excitement cooly bubbling under the surface that her turn was coming up.
So tonight, after the children were cuddled to sleep, after I'd made dinner, I caught sight of this fluffy visitor on the table. And before him sat his diary, filled out and drawn on, all his adventures with her already laid down.
And I had no idea what they were. And I wasn't there to at least join in on the homework. I got a lump in my throat. Oscar just looked at me through his smudged plastic eyes. I wasn't there to join in the games with him, to talk about what they'd done together, about what she wanted to tell her classmates about the following day. I wasn't there to fill his diary page out. Someone else sat with her, or perhaps just left her to get on with filling it out.
He's just a stuffed toy. He shouldn't make anyone cry. But after taking an hour and a half to get home tonight, finally giving up on the cab and walking through traffic to get home, having missed bathtime and just able to squeeze in a story, yes, a stuffed lopsided snow-leopard did make me cry.
Postscript - this morning I was corrected; Oscar is not a lopsided snow-leopard, I have been reliably informed that he is a meerkat (but frankly, still lopsided). We talked about what he did yesterday and what she wrote and drew about (lunch bunch club with friends, French class, walk in the park, dinner, bathtime viewing). I may have to rush a little bit more this morning for work, but it's worth it. Being back to work just means finding those moments to get back some of those quality times.