Once upon a time, when my sons were very young, they believed that we lived in an enchanted castle, inhabited by beautiful young fairies, who performed the daily tasks necessary in order to keep everyone well-fed and comfortable, for no financial reward. They were under the impression that we had one fairy to keep the castle spic and span, several to tend the castle grounds, another to cook, another to wash and iron, another to shop and several more to keep the castle in reasonable decorative order. One day, I explained that, in fact, there was only one rather bitter, ugly, not-so-young fairy who multi-tasked and, as they grew older, they slowly began to understand that the bitter, ugly, not-so-young fairy and I were one and the same person.
To some extent, even though my sons are now grown-up, their beliefs persist that they live in an enchanted castle and that I, as a middle-aged, menopausal fairy, still possess some magic powers.
For instance, according to them, the swing bin in the enchanted kitchen disappears when it is overflowing. I am very fortunate, in that my magic powers enable me to see everything, at all times. Only I can empty the bin, if only I can see it, naturally.
Fresh milk disappears as soon as the milkman puts it down on our enchanted doorstep. One bottle of semi-skimmed will materialise as soon as one son runs out of milk for his breakfast cereal. Unfortunately, as soon as said son has poured out sufficient milk for his needs, the 'fridge disappears and he is unable to put the remains of the bottle inside.
Apparently, as soon as anyone picks up the new toilet roll in the bathroom, the empty toilet roll holder disappears, so the new toilet roll has to sit on the window sill, until the bitter, ugly, old fairy goes in.
Cat sick disappears as soon as it hits the enchanted carpet, but mystically materialises when someone steps in it.
I see dead birds and mice under the dining room table. Oops, sorry, that's not magic, that's sixth sense.
Empty wine bottles disappear as soon as they are placed on the enchanted patio, by the side of our invisible recycling boxes. Any recycling has to be piled up in the castle kitchen, by the rear entrance to the castle grounds. It then renders itself invisible on the enchanted kitchen doormat.
Every time I enter the kitchen of the enchanted castle, the dishwasher materialises, but no-one else has ever seen it, so dirty dishes are piled up on the work surfaces and I am the only one who can load it up and empty it.
My eldest son's laundry basket also materialises, whenever I enter his bedroom, but unfortunately, it has never materialised for him. He has to put his dirty washing in an untidy pile on the landing outside his bedroom door, where it becomes invisible to everyone, unless they trip over it, when it will suddenly appear.
Any old rubbish, which my sons no longer want in their bedrooms, they move into the enchanted garage or shed, in the castle grounds. It then, apparently, turns into ancient treasure and must be protected from the wicked witch, who will take it to the tip if she gets half a chance. Only the wicked witch knows the whereabouts of the tip in the enchanted forest. Should any ancient treasure accidentally fall into her eager hands, a spell will be cast upon the original owner of the treasure, his soul will be torn from his body and his tortuous cries will echo through the aeon's of time into eternity, or so it will seem, anyway.
Now that my sons are grown and poised to venture out alone into the big wide world, I have to find the words to somehow explain to them, that we have only ever lived in a fairly modern house, on the edge of a housing estate and that the bitter, ugly, menopausal fairy, their mom and the wicked witch have only ever been one and the same person. I will also explain that if they look hard enough, they will see many things, that there is nothing scary about the local tip and that it does not lie in the enchanted forest. They are confusing it with a totally different scary place, known as HM Revenue and Customs. This is the place which lies in the middle of the enchanted forest and every grown up knows that they must avoid visiting it, or they will surely be eaten alive and never be heard of, ever again.
I will point out to my sons that the local tip is not a wicked place, anyone can find it by simply following the signposts and that no-one will suffer eternal torment if they decide to get rid of a few broken toys.
One day soon, I will get through to my sons, they will hear the words coming out of my mouth and perhaps, for a short while, we will finally exist in harmony, before they leave to set up their own homes and live happily ever after in riverside apartments. It is a fairy story, remember?
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13 hours ago