Watching R with our deaf and blind old cat this morning brings back memories of our early parenting years when I went back to work and he stayed home. Maybe replace memories with revelations.
Quite often, I would find pebbles in her nappies (diapers), her wellies with a puddle of water inside, dead woodlice in the pockets of her dungarees. But there was also my red cheeked smiling toddler with unkempt hair holding out her arms and unwashed hands to me. Wisely, R never really told me what went on in the garden, which at the time was a very big walled-in space with large overgrown patches full of brambles and broken bottles and ancient waste. Come to think of it, there was a time when S would bring me old batteries. In any case, the
house mansion with all its faded grandeur and sweeping staircase and all the gaping wounds that 100 years of neglect bring about was a minefield for anybody. Whatever possessed us?!
And: There was a large water tank way back in the garden. I know it was roughly shoulder high, toddler shoulder high. As I was rescuing the old cat this morning from inside the small bit of bramble hedge we have here, while R was digging up the spuds across the lawn, I saw my toddler throwing stones into the water tank, 30 years ago, pulling herself up to the rim to watch it splash and my knees gave in.
You are overreacting, R tells me. That cat has a great sense of smell, she would have found her way out in time.