This is Mr Fish.
He’s a small wooden fish that hangs below the multi-coloured wind chimes that I bought for Toby when I was about 5 months pregnant, back-packing our way round parts of Western Europe.
We found him in a small tourist-tack shop on the island of Naxos where we spent the last two weeks of our trip. We’d been traveling for almost a month by the time we reached the island and decided that enough was enough, it was time to kick back and just relax.
There’s a whole story to tell about that journey – two teenage daughters and their 35 year-old mother, who had recently moved into her second trimester of this unexpected pregnancy, back-packing through France, Italy and Greece in the adventure of a lifetime. I’ll get to that story soon – there are others vying for my attention before then.
Mr Fish has hung in Toby’s bedroom since the day he came home from hospital; every time we moved, Mr Fish has been carefully taken down, lovingly wrapped in tissue paper followed by an outer blanket of bubble-wrap. Then he would be unwrapped once again and placed in the window of Toby’s new bedroom. He’s been wrapped up seven times since the first time. His reassuring tinkling chime has chirruped every time the curtains have been opened each morning and again when they are closed in the evening. He has witnessed Toby’s entire life, so far.
But about two or three weeks ago, Toby brought him to me and said those words that mothers dread hearing.
‘Maybe, I’m too old for Mr Fish to be in my bedroom’.
Toby watched my face carefully as he made his suggestion. When he saw the tears well up in my eyes, he knew this was a step too far for me.
He smiled knowingly and then turned around and returned Mr Fish to his rightful place, keeping watch over his window, keeping watch over his life.