Just over two years ago, I decided to take my then six-year-old son to Barcelona for the weekend. It had struck me that, while all my friends and colleagues frequently went away with the partners and families to exciting places, we had kind of got left behind. Not by them – I never wait around to be invited on other people’s trips – but by my own diminished sense of adventure.
I know the city pretty well, having been lots of times for both business and pleasure, so it would, in theory, be an easy break for us both. Yet just one thing went wrong and it was, apparently, my son’s only memory of the trip: his pizza arrived with tomato sauce on it. We didn’t have long, he hadn’t eaten for a while and so I insisted that it was okay – that he stop being so fussy and give it a go. To this day, I wish I hadn’t because every time I’ve mentioned Barcelona since, it’s the only thing he’s ever seemed to recall. That was until yesterday.
‘I’d like to go to Barcelona again,’ he told me after school.
‘Are you absolutely kidding me?’ I replied, amazed at his request. ‘Do you not remember the pizza?’
He smiled, ‘Yes but I’ve grown up a lot since then and I actually had a really good time.’
I shook my head but smiled back, realising that even when things don’t seem to be as adults would like them, kids are still making memories. Making their parents suffer too, perhaps, but still making memories nonetheless.
Maybe we will go back one day. The more important thing for me, though, is realising that he has probably enjoyed more of the experiences we’ve had together than I’ve even known. It’s about understanding that we express ourselves differently and perhaps training myself to think more positively about how he sees the world. It made me happy, whatever the reason he said it. And he has no idea how many times I’ve fed him tomatoes without his knowledge since.