Leaving Godzone

THE BALANCE has been paid, the tickets are ours, and we’re off to England. Not yet, because of course we are no-way-near ready, but in a month not far away.

So, we will leave Godzone, for six months, six years, forever – we don’t know. We will go to a place where children don’t walk to school. Where parents must pass through security and metal detectors to get into their child’s classroom. Where teachers can’t hug their pupils. We will go to a place where the Little Mister will be surrounded by cousins, great aunties and uncles, family. Europe will be a hop skip and jump away, with its castles, ruins, history and stories. We will leave our big house and garden from where we can walk to the shops, the swings, the city, the sea, the zoo. We will leave this place as the barbecues of summer still sizzle, and we will wrap the Little Mister in merino and down jackets and shield his face from the biting cold that is the English winter. We will, next year, decorate a tree while the ground outside is frosty, the nights come early, and the fairy lights twinkle from late afternoon. We will visit Christmas markets, go to see the windows and lights in town, and later make a snowman with a big orange carrot for a nose.

We will spend the next few months running around trying to get ready to say goodbye. We will cry when we hug and kiss those we love here. We will pack boxes while he sleeps, scrub window panes while he plays, and call packing companies and letting agents when he is distracted. We will worry about money, about jobs, about our new life. We will worry whether we are doing the right thing. We are doing it all for the Little Mister.

Who, by the way, had his passport photo taken. This, my darling Little Mister, looks more to me like a photo of you about to start school at four. When did you get so grown up?

A bang on the head

THE LITTLE Mister is probably the happiest person I know. He flashes his huge gummy smile indiscriminately – at strangers, at paintings, and toys, at light bulbs. So I wasn’t at all worried about today’s photo shoot. Until we go there.

I hadn’t brought along jeans – and this is what the photographer wanted him to wear. She didn’t want him in the cute onesie I had packed, so instead he stayed in the ugliest tracksuit bottoms he owns. I know he’s still lovely, but it mattered to me. He had been in his worst clothes so he wouldn’t dirty his best ones for a photo I had hoped would take pride of place on our wall.

The Little Mister didn’t like her. He didn’t smile. The flash freaked him out. And then, while sitting up, he toppled over and banged his head, hard, on the wooden floor. He screamed. I wanted to. We left very soon after.

We’ll take a look at the photos next week – and maybe I’ll be surprised and there will be one that is right. But what a day. It’s strange how much it mattered to me, given how many photos we have and take of our baby. Tony has promised me we’ll do a proper shoot at home. Or we could go somewhere else, because that might never happen.

I suppose it’s because he is growing so fast, and changing so much every day that I want to keep hold of how he is now. Which is funny, because every day that he changes I somehow love him more than before. Even though I didn’t know the day before that I could.

Anyway, I’m glad our day is over. And I just hope that bang on the head wasn’t as hard as it sounded.