I got rid of my son's cot today. The fact it had been broken down into component form - various pieces of solid wood ends and ladder like sides - made it slightly easier; it didn't represent quite so much, lying there in pieces.
But even so, as I dumped it down the side of the house to await the rubbish clearance man, I couldn't look back at it, and I was glad when more stuff came down and was put on top of it, obscuring it completely from view.
I can remember buying it. There was a small, old fashioned baby shop in my town, and my little boy was probably six months old. He actually co-slept, and the cot was bought only because he had become too big for his Moses basket for daytime naps.
The cot was put up in our bedroom, and a mobile of fat, plush, primary coloured animals hung above it, and farmyard bumper and matching bedding put in it.
When my son was two and it was outgrown, it was dismantled and put under my bed where it has remained ever since. For eight years, to be exact. Not that I expected it to remain there. I thought it would be needed again. I took all the screws and bolts and put them in a nappy bag and tied them to the frame so they would not get lost. I took off the mobile and put it in with the bedding in a blanket box. All kept together, ready for more babies to use.
But none of it was ever used again. Not for a baby, anyway. The plush animals were, some years later, cut off the mobile and given to the puppy to play with. The bedding got dragged from the blanket box and used in play tents and camps. The nappy sack somehow got separated from the cot frame and every now and then bolts which had rolled free would get sucked up in the Hoover.
I didn't want to get rid of it today. It was almost admitting defeat in doing so. Admitting that part of my life is well and truly over. That there will be no more babies.
If it wasn't for the fact my bedroom is being decorated and needed clearing, I imagine the cot would have stayed there forever, always representing, perhaps, a tiny sliver of hope.
My son asked me why I was throwing it away. "It has ALWAYS been under your bed," he said. "Don't get rid of it!"
"Why?" I asked, "What are we going to do with it?"
He shrugged, "I don't know, I just don't want you to."
I knew just how he felt.