Having accomplished our errand, my daughter and I went to the nearby toyshop to acquire yet another alien.
These are not aliens like me. These extraterrestrials are squidgy, rubbery, unnaturally coloured foetal babies with oversize foreheads and undersize limbs which typically come in eggs and covered in goo, though the eggs of some have a coating of bicarbonate of soda or similiar which dissolves when you put it in lukewarm water, so allowing you to ‘birth’ your alien. They are my daughter’s latest favourite thing. It makes me think she is so much her alien father’s child. She named some after the planets but now she has used up the solar system, the names are becoming rather more random – Clockbutton for a small green and Rendigo for a large silver one. Drawing on the fiction that populates these pages, I keep suggesting Skudun, Badezon, Slessi and Cintilar – but quite reasonably these fanciful-sounding names are consistently pooh-poohed.
We left the shop with the latest additions to the ever-extending alien family, and had immediately to cross a busy road. My daughter held my hand and on the other side not only kept it held but started skipping too. I felt and thought, treasure this moment, because – since she is growing up so fast – it just might be the last time ever that she holds your hand and skips happily down a street like this with you.
Children do this bittersweet thing to parents on a daily basis – touch your heart while simultaneously prompting you to mourn the fleeting nature of such joys. But even in this, there is continuity. Something new always comes along to make your heart sing, to make you wipe away a discreetly shed tear.
(This is the kind of post I swore I’d never write – parent gushing about child – but well, even aliens have children, and its alien content lets me off the hook, doesn’t it?)