Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Letter to a Grand-Daughter - Walnut Cottage Revisited.

Dear Small Grand-Daughter,
You're really not so small these days. There is a theory that you are about half your adult height at two years of age. You have a month to go until you're two, but by our current reckoning you will be about five feet seven inches tall when you're grown up. That's taller than your Mummy, and the same as your Grandma. I hope I might see you at that height.

Anyway, looking back rather than into a hazy future, here is Walnut Cottage again. I wrote about it two and a half years ago when I first knew that you were coming. You were just the size of a walnut, which is why I called your house Walnut Cottage
We were all so full of joy to know you were on your way, but we didn't know who you were, and who you would be. We still can't know that, but we can know the loving, happy, characterful small person you are today at nearly two.
I didn't know that you were going to be a dear little girl with a mass of golden curls who would spend a weekend racing about, looking after us, giving us all plastic cups filled with imaginary tea. I didn't know that you would be such a people-person, so full of fun and interest in others. I really didn't know that you would lull yourself to sleep, whispering the names of family and friends, and then wake up the same way, thinking about the people who are important to you.

So this photo shows you what my neighbour, a skilled carpenter, did  yesterday. Walnut Cottage is being  tidied and sorted and kitted out for someone who likes making pretend tea. Someone who trundles around with a ginger toy cat in a pushchair and who gives many stuffed animals careful and gentle rides on the swing in the garden.  There will be a kitchen with ladles and saucepans, a cradle for dolls and cats and bears, a comfy chair, a table for colouring and drawing,  places on the wall for your art work.There will be books in there, of course, and a rather special toy toaster that makes you dance and shout with delight when the plastic toast pops up. Things that have been collected over the past two years, in case you need them.

Perhaps you will also enjoy the cars and diggers and sticks and stones collected by your Daddy and Uncle when Walnut Cottage was really more of an arsenal than a little home.
Things are still here for you; all the options are open.
But your Daddy and Uncle never really went in for tea-making and looking after others. Their speciality was trying to make what they called 'poison' from sand, soil, food colouring and other tasty morsels from the garden.
Their time in the little house was often tinged with excitement and danger. Or so they thought.

However you choose to use Walnut Cottage I know you will find great happiness in so many little things.
I also want you to know that you give back more happiness than you can ever believe.

Very Happy Birthday, nearly-two-year old,
With love from Grandma.