Stay with me here, I’ll explain.
Mornings at my place happen so fast that after the school rush is done and dusted I’m left thinking to myself, ‘What happened just then!’
I’ve found that walking to school is like pushing a magic button, where all the rush, panic, yelling, hurrying and stress is left behind as soon as we step out the front door. From that moment on, the fresh air and conversations take hold, which, in my opinion, is the best quality time I spend with my two boys.
The conversations we have for the next 15 minutes are the best and I’m always in my element, ears tuned in and watching their expressions as they discuss things in such a matter-of-fact way.
For instance, the other day as we reached the end of our street, there was a dead possum on the footpath. I saw this before the boys did and wondered to myself if I should warn them, or leave it for them to discover. I decided on the latter.
When they approached it, it was a case of, ‘Mum, what is it? Is it dead? I think I saw it move! His eyes are looking at me! How did it die?’ They circled it a few times as I looked on, amused by all the questions and their brains ticking over at this poor creature.
As I coaxed them to keep walking, the dead possum monopolised the conversation, until something else took their attention. The ‘spooky house’ had movement today. Not a day goes by that they don’t stop and peer through the gap in the fence at…nothing. I don’t understand, but figure there is something that attracts them. On this day, they stood open mouthed as someone walked out of the back door. I took a quick look and rushed them along. To be perfectly honest I was a bit freaked out myself, given the eerie look of the house and the 1970’s gear that the man had on.
Getting a move on now and we had 7 minutes to get to school. I took hold of my 6 year old’s hand to power up the hill and lo and behold, a dead bird lay right there in the gutter. Well, that was it; they stopped, examined it and saw a little blood. We didn’t have time for this. I said, ‘Poor bird. It must have flown into a car window perhaps’. The questions started again, but as I continued walking, they caught up, continuing the questions. ‘What will happen to the bird now? Who will take it away?’
In my haste to hurry and also puffing from the slight hill, I reply, ‘Bird’ll just lay there. It isn’t in pain anymore.’
My 6 year old says something to the effect of, ‘Will birdle go to heaven?’
I absolutely lost it. I should have answered this question, I really know that I should have, but I couldn’t stop laughing at his usage of the word ‘birdle’. In my hysterics, I tried to explain that I shortened ‘The bird will…’ to ‘bird’ll’, but they couldn’t understand me and were utterly confused as to why their Mum was laughing so much, so they quietly walked beside me, glancing my way every few steps.
So, in essence, our walks to school are gold. The conversations we have are ones to cherish. And yes, the word ‘birdle’ is now a word in our household.
Find Gillian in a busy cafe or street, scoping the prospect of characters in her latest book.
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