Monday, 10 August 2015

Second to the right, straight on til morning


It's hot tonight, probably the hottest night of the year so far. When the weather's like this it reminds me of my Peter Pan summer sheets. Your grandma always used to change my winter sheets to thinner ones in the summer. And these were my favourite. They were white and thin and cool and had all the characters from Peter Pan scattered all over them. We don't change to summer sheets anymore. We just have duvets.

(Your grandma has just told me that those sheets really were special. They were Disney sheets and they came all the way from America. When I was little you couldn't shop on the internet to buy things from abroad and there were no Disney stores in this country.  Your great grandma had three sisters who all lived in America and one of them sent them over just for me.)

I used to lie in bed and it was still light. I could hear some of the older children playing outside and it didn't seem fair that I had to be in bed. But then I was surrounded by all these wonderful characters and I think my attention was quickly diverted.

When you're little, lots of things don't seem fair and you want lots of things to happen instantly without waiting for them. I can remember learning how life worked in cycles. I think, strangely enough it was bicycles that taught me this.

You got a new bike and it was the talk of the street. You were dead proud and everyone wanted a go. Then before you knew it, it was someone else's birthday and they got a new bike. But the style had changed and theirs was bigger and better. Time works in funny ways when you’re little.  An hour can seem to last week and six weeks seems to last forever.  But then all of a sudden six months or a year passes and you don’t know where it went.

I can remember my friend got a small sized racing bike with drop handle bars and I was dead jealous. Your grandma said that I'd to wait until I was bigger and then they'd buy me a proper one, full size. It made sense what she said but I really wanted a little racing bike.

Soon enough my time came and I got a full size racing bike. By this time we'd all grown and my friend was too big for his small bike with drop handle bars but he was stuck with it. My bike was a bit too big for me and I had to sit on the crossbar instead of the seat until my legs grew long enough to reach the peddles. I did myself a few injuries coming off that cross-bar but I loved that racing bike. It's still in grandma and granddad's garage. Maybe you'll ride it one day, if it's not so old fashioned that it embarrasses you.  My dad worked his magic on it and transformed it from having five gears to ten.  Now most bikes have at least twenty-one gears, though I’m not really sure why you need so many on a push bike.

It wasn't a hard lesson to learn, waiting for something until I was big enough for it, but it seemed difficult at the time. To look at his shiny new bike which we were just the right size for was really something else. But waiting wasn't a bad thing. Maybe it made me appreciate things more. And if you think you really want something and then you still want it six months or a year later, maybe it's the right thing to have.

I think when you're young you spend lots of your time wanting to be bigger and to be grown up. But I'll tell you a secret. When you're a grown up, you spend a lot of your time wishing you were little again.

Also you need to try to listen to your parents, which will be me and your mum, (and believe me, I’m still getting used to saying that) however much you might not really want to. We've been around a long time now. We've been through most of these things. It might be worth trusting us once in a while even if it seems we don't know what we're on about or we're just being mean.

I promise we'll get you some summer bed sheets though, with people on. I hope they dance for you and help send you to sleep like they did for me. Don't worry so much about the sounds of the children outside. They might be making a lot of noise and you might wish you were with them, but they won't be up to anything much and you'll get your time and your moment to stay up late. Don't spoil it by being in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy being little because the magic lasts for such a short time.

I hope, by the time you read this you've had and enjoyed our moments of magic. I hope we bought you a fairy door and hid it by a tree at the bottom of the garden. I hope with all my heart that for at least just a moment, you really believed in fairies and that when you squinted your eyes, just before you went to sleep, you caught a glimpse of them flickering their glittery wings.