This morning I felt exasperated. During the short few minutes it took me to get washed and dressed, Pip had managed to find his ‘safety’ scissors, snip through the cotton string on most of the baubles at the bottom of the Christmas tree, and also open the few straggling Christmas cards I hadn’t managed to post yet. I was not amused. These things always seem to happen to me on a day when I’m trying very hard to be somewhere at a certain time, and also when I also need to do something super organised like make a packed lunch. Uber efficiency is not my strong point, and these extra grenades thrown into the early morning routine test my motherhood skills to the limit.
As it was, only half an hour later than I had hoped, we found ourselves in acres of open, green space looking for ‘Mr Christmas’. After our picnic lunch, and a spot of face painting, (I always find it a pleasurable experience to be accompanied by a snow leopard), we stalked an elusive reindeer. My fantastic
imagination eyesight meant that we followed Rudolph’s trail to the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens. A short walk through a winter wonderland and we encountered the man himself. He sang a song (Rudolph the red nosed reindeer) and gave Pip a badge, and told him not to light a fire on Christmas Eve, as hot chimneys are problematic. Little Pip seemed rather impressed with Mr Christmas. He offered him a marshmallow he’d saved especially for him, but Mr Christmas said he was too busy to eat it right now, and to move along, as there were lots of other children to see. Pip took this rebuttal with good grace and said he would save it for him for when he comes on Christmas Eve. Lucky Mr Christmas.
Afterwards we walked through the grass in the darkening afternoon light towards the mesmerising bygone carousel spinning round and round in the distance. Brightly coloured painted horses and cockerels, with names painted on them, enchanted children as they glided up and down effortlessly on their gilt poles. Small legs take small steps; at times the carousel seemed like a mirage, and it felt like we would never get there. Whilst we made our pilgrimage to this wondrous sight, Pip decided it might be fun to see how much goose poo he could accumulate on the sole of his shoe, treading in as much as possible in an attempt to build a tower of it under the toe area. Not for the first time today I thought, I turn my back for 2 seconds….and look what happens! Thankfully one advantage of our location was the vast quantity of sticks. Once a girl guide - always a girl guide. I know a good scraping device when I see one.
Our long walk over, we finally arrived at the carousel and Pip chose a horse called Milly for our ride. We rode her tandem style, Pip holding on to her mane, whilst I held on to him for dear life, as we glided up and down to the piped organ music. ‘Giddiup, Giddiup’ Pip cried, his face aglow with pleasure. I held my little snow leopard close and savoured the moment, and the magic. As we circled round and round and high then low, I thought; motherhood is rather like a carousel. Yes, there are ups and downs, even on a nice day like today; there are trying moments – the baubles, the Christmas cards, the goose poop, but even those moments become happy memories; moments to laugh over. We had a super day together, Pip and I, and as we rode up and down I reflected on how extremely lucky I am to have him, what a wonderful, breathtakingly magical ride it is on the motherhood carousel, and how I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.