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Navigating the many monuments of memory

Because I do the fillums, the nice lady from Disney offered me a ticket to its children's Christmas party. It was to be held in its shop in Dublin and I had a little waft of nostalgia. When she was seven the Girlchild and I went to Paris. The only thing my daughter was adamant about was that we were going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I'd warned her about the queues, but she was adamant and while I complained a lot, she did not. We were going to the top and that was that. The other great monument that she discovered was the Disney store on the Champs Elysees. We spent at least as long in there as we had getting to, queuing for, ascending and descending the Eiffel Tower. Never was merchandise so thoroughly perused. It was pure little-kid awe and their capacity for it doesn't last that long.

But that's nearly half the Girlette's lifetime ago, and her interests have moved on, so I secured the services of my brother's children for the party. They're five and three and it was lovely to behold their sheer little kiddiness. They weren't especially thrilled to hear me mistaken for their mammy, but I was delighted to be smuggled into a different demographic. Little kids can go badly at my age, I know someone who was touting her newborn around a supermarket when another woman approached and said, "What would they do without us grannies, eh?" Eek.

There have been lots of moments of nostalgia lately. Someone said once that when a child starts secondary school, time breaks all speed limits. With both of them out of primary, the Boychild out of school altogether, it all feels very different. It's easy to feel a pang, a slight sense of loss about times that will never come again. My niece and nephew were so good and super sweet. But as I said, they are three and five. I'd forgotten just how full on little children are. It's easy to romanticise the long gone. Looking back is useful to see how far you've come, and to focus on where to go next.

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