What objects define you? That’s the question asked by Maud on Awfully Chipper recently, and her story of her mother’s gold watch hooked me in. My mum had a gold watch with a clasp too, and though I haven’t thought of it for years, when I read Maud’s post, the memory came back as clear as ever, and yes, to me, among other things, it utterly represents my mother.
Maud went on to wonder what objects would define her to her own children, then threw the question out to the rest of us. It’s kind of irresistible, so I’m joining in. What are the objects that define me? What will my kids remember when they grow up?
It’s not a politically correct answer, and perhaps doesn’t paint me in the best light but I think my Mac would define me to my kids. When I first went freelance, I was very keen to make sure they knew I was still working, although they mostly don’t see it. With the two girls, it has sunk in. They know that I work and that it means they sometimes get nice things, and that I have things I must do beyond cooking dinner and finding missing shoes. The small boy says that only daddies can work in offices, so there’s a slight fail there, but still time to brainwash him.
My everyday constant good luck necklace
When my two girls were very small, my husband went to Las Vegas for five days for a stag. As you do. Unfortunately while he was away, our then 11-month-old climbed up on the open door of the dishwasher than fell off, breaking her collar-bone. I managed to hold off for 48 hours before giving up lying to my husband, and told him what had happened. Two days later, he arrived home with a suitcase filled with presents – misplaced guilt is a powerful thing. My favourite gift was a teardrop pendant and chain from Tiffany. I’ve worn it every day for the last six years and it’s become a talisman. If it ever breaks, I will need a replacement from the US, but I will happily go myself this time.
My beloved coffee machine
There is nothing in the world like that first coffee each morning. Savouring the minutes beforehand – heating the cup, switching on the machine, then finally, pressing the button and waiting as the kitchen fills with the unparalleled smell of fresh coffee. And the taste – if it is the first taste on the palate that day – is happiness in a cup. My kids know that my coffee machine would be just behind my Mac on my “things I’d save in a fire” list.
My totally free flip-flops
If I was a character in a book, I’d own a beat-up old leather jacket that I bought in Flip in Temple Bar in 1993 or I’d have a battered second-hand classic Mulberry bag that I bring everywhere with me. But it’s real-life, and the oldest item of clothing I have is a black cardigan from Mango that I bought in 2004. I’m guilty of disposable(ish) purchasing, and after a few years, jackets start to look stale and end up in the special box in the attic for things I don’t need anymore but can’t quite give away. Ditto for handbags. But I do have a pair of silver Kurt Geiger flip-flops that came free with a magazine seven or eight years ago. In summer, they’re my everyday house-and-garden footwear, and as old, totally free, around the house footwear goes, I like these a lot.
When I asked the kids what they associate with me, after coffee and my lap top (and random things like “that wall in your bedroom that’s painted red”) the next answer was chocolate ice-cream. They like running through hypothetical ice-cream flavours, and asking me what my favourite is, and telling me I can’t always, always, always pick chocolate but I think they secretly like that I do. And they benefit from this particular object of me too.
That’s me as I think my kids would see me, more so than how I see me, although now that I think about it, they’re probably spot on.
For more in this linky, see Awfully Chipper
There is no segue from “Objects of Me” to dads who don’t take parental leave, so I won’t even try, but in case you’d like to read about the latter, this is a feature I wrote for the Irish Examiner, interviewing three dads who have never taken parental leave, and one who said it’s the best thing he ever did.