The Threat of the Metal Chair

Did you know that my son spent almost the entire autumn and winter months threatening to hit me with a metal chair?

Before you mutter, ‘Brat / Psycho / What-kind-of-mother-are-you-to-allow-that-state-of-affairs-to-continue,’ let me tell you the story of how it happened.

It’s all about the power of commitment.

27 September 2015 was one of those charming autumn days when the summer seems to linger just a little longer. When the leaves are just starting to turn and everyone stays outside to soak up the last rays of sunshine before the long, dark winter months begin.

After my son gave me a severe scolding for eating all the bacon for breakfast (the excuse that protein in the morning was good for my diet fell on deaf ears), I hung my head in shame as I stood quietly by the sink. The atmosphere in the room was oppressive, the sadness that had been dogging me for months still at my shoulder.

The picnic we had been planning no longer held any interest for him. Even me, who would normally jump at the chance to spend a day walking in the autumn woods, had no interest in going.

So I mentioned instead the one place I wanted to go. The one place I could imagine myself feeling happy that day.

‘Let’s just go to Copenhagen.’

It was like a magic formular.

Bacon forgotten, sadness forgotten, we rushed to get dressed with squeals of delights and called to each other about everything we wanted to do and see.

We ran to the train station, our coats flying out behind us like wings. Waiting on the platform, we laughed and told jokes, and the two hours on the train seemed to fly by. We ate lunch outside, squinting at the sunlight, and as we walked down to our favourite food market, Torvehallerne, my son turned to me and said, ‘All right, Mummy. Now we’re going to move to Copenhagen.’

And just like that, the dark clouds and the sadness they brought vanished. The path ahead was clear again, and it was, at last, time to go home.

We played hide-and-seek in the botanical gardens, ate enormous ice creams by the harbour, finally saw the crown jewels, and didn’t want to go home at all.

This is when the metal chair came in.

My son said, ‘We’re moving. No backsies.’

It all seemed like a dream. But it was my dream. I didn’t want him to move for the sake of my dream.

Which I kept telling him.

Was he sure?

It shouldn’t be just for my sake. It should be something we both wanted to do.

And over and over, while I looked at the move from all angles, procrastinated and saw only the obstacles.

‘Look,’ he said one day, ‘we said no backsies. The one who takes it back gets hit by a metal chair.’ He said it again. And again. Until I had no choice but to face my fears and set things in motion.

Did I mention he’s nine?

That was seven months ago.

Where are we living now?

Copenhagen.

 

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