Wednesday, 19 March 2008
At school they asked my five year old son Thomas to draw his family tree. He bought his work home to show me. At the top of the family tree I can see my husband and me. Don't you love those five year old drawings - huge hands, triangle skirts, corrugated hair? On the line underneath Thomas has drawn a picture of himself. To one side there is a tiny person who he has drawn in a box. He tells me that this is his sister Laura. I'm very glad that he's drawn her there. To me this suggests that he's coping well with his loss. I've never wanted Laura to be a dark secret and it's clear that he doesn't see her as that. But then there's another image on the family tree, on the line next to the picture of Thomas. There's a circle with spokes and something small and round inside the circle. This, Thomas explains to me, is his hamster. He's been promised a hamster when he moves back to England and so optimistically he's decided to draw the hamster now. Other children, of course, have a brother or sister to draw. I'm glad he's drawn the hamster. Actually, I'm looking forward to the hamster as well. They make such amazing cages for hamsters now with hundreds of wheels and tubes and compartments. Whole hamster worlds. Yes, the hamster will be fun. But a hamster is only a hamster. It's not the same as a baby.