My kitchen drawer in Aberdeen was like most kitchen drawers in Aberdeen. Filled to the brim with paperwork that needed to be sorted and filed; or cherished and saved in a keepsake box. A lot of it was Lil’Lassie’s painstakingly drawn portraits of whatever captured her heart at that moment. I always promised to display them, but after lying on the counter for days, into the bottomless drawer they would go.
My heart broke a little. In that moment, I understood the value of the simplest word spoken to a child, whoever they are, whatever their age. I just smiled at her and gave her a cuddle, took out the paintings and gave them more attention than I had done previously. I didn’t answer her question, even though it was rhetorical. I wanted to fulfill the promise before I, again, committed with empty words.
So that night, I went online, looking for magnetic boards. The traditional padded ones were pretty but I didn’t fancy using pins…for my own safety, let alone the kids! Then I stumbled on this site called Beyond the Fridge. At the time, they sold only magnetic boards. Not just any ol’ type. This company turned a utilitarian, functional piece of household equipment into a canvas for illustration. I LOVED it! The name of the company alone, had me nodding my head in approval and the designs were brilliant enough to make me flash the credit card. The one I bought isn’t currently on sale anymore, but there is still such a range of fabulous designs available.
I bought one. A beautiful, bright, lemon yellow one, with an illustration of a bird and a few of their funky magnets. It was delivered very promptly. I hung it up (that was a sight!). I took out her paintings and placed them on the board. I took a photo of us both having a cuddle and put that alongside. I did it all, before picking her up from playschool. I didn’t tell her when we got home. I didn’t point to it, when she sat at the table opposite the wall it was hanging on, having her strawberry milk (homemade, mind!), while swinging her legs.
I watched her, as she enjoyed her drink and let her eye wander casually over the wall before her. I saw her eye arrested, when it reached the board. I saw them move swiftly, from one picture the other, to the photo. And then she ran, straight into me, shouting, “Mama, you did it! You got my pictures up! You got my pictures up! Don’t they look beautiful now?” At that moment, all I could think of was how beautiful my girlie is. And how the simplest things, the actions of a simple promise could raise such an amount of joy, in such a wee person.