A kid’s newspaper on grief
THURSDAY, June 10 – Is it okay if I use that newspaper, Papa? To read? No, to draw on. Faces with moustaches, glasses, a new hairdo, and rotten teeth. Dutch politicians Balkenende, Rutte, Wilders and Cohen are horribly mutilated. Together, we laugh at his caricatures. Did you do that when you were little, Papa? Hell, yes.
With the tip of his tongue between his lips, Eamonn starts on another portrait.
‘You know what, Papa? I’d think it would be fun to make a newspaper.’
Way to go, an editor-in-chief in the family! Not an illustrator, but a writer.
‘What kind of newspaper, son?’
‘A newspaper with stories about children who’ve gone through the same things I have. Stories for each other.’
Our elder son joins in the discussion.
‘Somewhere I saw a book like that, with stories.’
A while back I’d left the book on the coffee table, so they could leaf through it if they felt the urge. There are fellow-sufferers out there and a lot of them are children.
‘Do you feel as if you’ve changed?’ I ask Sander.
‘Yes. I grew up from one day to the next. Suddenly I had to face up to reality,’ he says with remarkable clarity. ‘Sometimes I wish I was ordinary again, just like the kids in my class.’
‘Could be a good story for the newspaper,’ I venture.
But my young editor-in-chief has already started on a wig for Labor Party boss Cohen. Priorities.
Beautiful, nice way to start my day. Thank you!
Unfortunately, we all grow up from one day to the next. I wish we could protect our kids from it- but it usually is out of our control. What sucks is that we adults are shocked into growing up too- even when we thought we were already.