The Past …
Reaching out, my mum wraps her long, dainty fingers around my small hand. “Jump, baby.” She smiles as I launch from the bottom step off the bus, landing on the sidewalk. We both laugh. I love my mum. She’s fun.
“Brrrrrr, it’s cold today,” she says.
Looking up, I find her shivering. I smile at her as she zips up her coat to keep warm. Digging through her bag, she takes out my favourite Spiderman beanie and scarf, holding them up for me to see.
“Put these on, sweetie,” she says smiling as she crouches down in front of me, placing my beanie on my head and wrapping the scarf around my neck. “Let me get your gloves,” she adds, reaching into her bag again. “I can’t have my little man getting sick.” I stand and watch as she pushes my small fingers into my blue gloves, one by one. “There, all snug.”
“Snug as a bug in a rug,” I add. This is something she says to me every night when she tucks me into bed.
“That’s right, baby,” she says leaning forward, giving me a soft kiss on my nose. Rising to her feet she reaches for my hand. “Come on.”
As we walk down the street, my eyes take everything in. I don’t think I’ve ever been here before. There are shops on one side of the street, and big houses on the other. “Where are we, Mummy?” I ask while looking around. The loud roar of a motorbike passing makes me jump.
“This is my hometown. I grew up here.” I look up at her. Wow. Mummy lived somewhere else before our home?
She gazes down at me, but she looks sad. “You lived here when you were little, like me?” I ask.
“Uh huh. This is where your grandparents live.”
“I have a grandma and grandpa?” I didn’t know that either. I feel my eyes widen and I smile. I hear the kids at school talk about their grandparents all the time. I’ve always wondered why I didn’t have any of my own.
I’ve never asked my mum why. Once I asked her how come I didn’t have a daddy like the other kids, and it made her cry. I don’t like seeing my mummy cry.
“I’m taking you to meet them now. They’ve never met you before.” I’m getting so excited, like I did a few weeks ago when I turned five, and my mummy bought me a big chocolate cake. My friend, Josh, was allowed to come over. He even bought me a present. Nobody but my mummy has ever bought me a present before. I met Josh’s grandparents once, when I was playing at his house. They were really nice. I hope my grandparents are like his.
I start jumping along because I’m so happy. Mummy stops in front of a big, white house. It’s really, really big, like the houses you see in movies. It’s so much bigger than where mummy and me live.
My mum’s hand starts shaking as she holds mine. I look at her. She looks mad, like the time I drew on the wall at home. Her eyes are doing funny things.
“Your hands are shaking, Mummy.”
“I’m okay little man, I’m just cold.” She looks down at me and smiles. Her eyes look happy when she looks at me.
“Do you want to borrow my gloves?”
“No, baby,” she says as her smile widens. She crouches down, placing her hands on either side of my face. “No matter what happens when we go in here, just remember how much I love you, and how special you are.”
“Okay,” I say. I love my mummy. I know I’m going to love my grandparents too.
“Good boy.” She leans forward and kisses my cheek before standing up and reaching for my hand again. “Let’s do this.”
As we walk down the long driveway, my mum’s hand continues to shake. I wish she’d put my gloves on. I hate how she’s cold.
“One … two … three … four … five.” I count the stairs in my head as we climb them before we stop in front of the big yellow door. I hear my mum let out a big breath. Letting go of my hand, she makes a fist as she raises her arm, but she stops mid-air. Looking down at me, her lips turn up before finally knocking on the door. I can’t wait to see my grandparents. I hope they have chocolate. I love chocolate.
Reaching for my hand, she gives it a squeeze. When the door opens, I look up at the man who stands there. He doesn’t look happy when he sees mummy.
“Elizabeth,” he says sternly.
“Hi, Daddy,” she replies nervously. He relaxes when mummy says that. The corners of his mouth turn up slightly. I feel my own big smile. Wow, this must be my grandpa. He looks so strong.
“What are you doing here?” he asks.
My mum doesn’t say anything for what feels like one hundred years. “I wanted to see you. I … ummm, wanted you to meet your grandson, Carter.” She gives my hand another squeeze as she looks down at me.