“Mummy, let’s pretend I’m the mummy and you’re the little girl,” says Lily. “Daddy can be the big brother and Elijah can be the baby.” They are full of picnic food, sprawled on a rug on top of a hill at Botanic Gardens.
The mummy and the little girl go exploring. “Little Girl, we’re going to Magic Garden now,” says the mummy. They crawl through a tangle of branches into a dark space created by the low canopy of an old pine tree, the needles a soft carpet beneath their feet. Beer bottles, cigarette butts and empty chip packets litter the ground and crude splashes of paint adorn the tree trunk. They exclaim over the gorgeous, rich colours: magenta, violet, jade! Then they wiggle their way between branches and emerge out the other side of the tree. They are met with a sign, “Warning! Do Not Enter: Wasp Nest.” The little girl is grateful that the garden’s magic must have frozen the wings of the wasps for a time.
Next they visit a beautiful flower garden. The mummy admires the pink pom poms, their layers of tiny petals as delicate as tissue paper. The little girl likes the yellow globes with thin radiating petals, which look like a child’s crayon suns.
“Where shall we go next, Mummy?” asks the little girl.
“We can go wherever you want do whatever you want!” declares the mummy.
“Let’s go across the bridge!” suggests the little girl. “Can I swim in the creek, Mummy?”
“No you can’t! You don’t have your bathers on!” says the mummy.
They visit the lake, its lilies in full bloom, leaves as big as umbrellas. The sun is biting their shoulders as they seek out a bench in the shade to watch a pair of ducks. “Little Girl, would you like an iceblock to cool you down?” says the mummy.
“Hmmm… I’m not sure about that, Mummy.”
“You can have an iceblock, Little Girl. It will cool you down.”
“Did you bring any money, Mummy?’
“You can check your purse, Little Girl. You probably have some money in it.”
It turns out the big brother has some money, so there are paddlepops all round. The little girl has chocolate. The big brother has banana. And the mummy? She has rainbow, of course.