Here is a juicy true confession to get you through the week…
He was only three years old. I had to remind myself of that as I looked around my son, Nathan’s bedroom.
It was littered with expensive jewellery… MY expensive jewellery. And now half of it was broken.
The backs of my diamond stud earrings had been snapped off, fragile silver chains were torn in two and my antique ruby and gold ring, passed down from my great, great grandmother, was now minus its sparkling ruby.
I prayed to God Nathan hadn’t swallowed it! My son was a total magpie – a sucker for anything sparkly or shiny.
“Just like his mum,” my husband, Jeff, joked the first time Nathan eagerly tried to tug out one of my earrings.
“Oooo,” our little boy would gurgle, pointing at anything glittery that caught his eye.
At first, I thought it was cute.
But now, looking at the chaos and destruction after Nathan had secretly raided my jewellery box I wanted to cry.
“I know he didn’t mean it,” I sobbed to Jeff later. “But all my stuff is ruined. Most of that jewellery was irreplaceable.”
It wasn’t like we had a lot of money. The only precious gems I owned had been inherited.
“We’ll laugh about this one day,” Jeff said, wrapping an arm around my shoulders.
When Nathan started school, I’d often find things stashed in his school bag that didn’t belong to him. From tubes of glitter glue to a sparkly ruler, I was constantly telling him off and returning his ill-gotten gains to their rightful owners.
What made it worse was our next-door neighbour, Sue.
She had twins in Nathan’s class and was always looking down her nose at me. Her husband was Jeff’s boss and a nasty piece of work. When she’d suggested a weekly playdate for Nathan and her boys at her house, I didn’t want to say no and offend her.
Of course it meant I got an earful of unwanted parenting advice every time I went to pick my son up from her house. “Maybe you should send him to a therapist,” she said one day, after Nathan had got in trouble for pinching a girl at school’s silver hairband. “I mean, the boy’s a disaster zone.”
That really riled me. How dare she talk about him like that. “I’ll definitely think about it,” I replied, through gritted teeth, wishing I could wipe the smug look off her face.
When we got home, I was getting Nathan’s school bag ready for the following day when I noticed something sparkling up at me from the bottom. Oh no, I thought, instinctively knowing it was another stolen item.
But this one was a far cry from anything he’d brought home before. It was a stunning emerald pendant on a white gold chain. It was too expensive to belong to anyone at school.
That’s when I realised… it must have come from Sue’s jewellery box next door!
I knew the right thing to do would be to return it, and I honestly was going to. But every time I saw Sue, she came out with another patronising comment and I disliked her even more.
She never mentioned the emerald to me. She had so much jewellery I doubt she even noticed it was missing.
It sounds terrible, but I decided to keep quiet. I tucked the emerald away with my own jewellery – far out of Nathan’s reach – and didn’t tell a soul.
Thankfully, Nathan is now 10 and has moved on to Lego. He couldn’t give a stuff about jewellery anymore, much to my relief.
We moved house two months ago and as we were packing, I came across the emerald again. I do feel bad that I never gave it back, but admitting the truth was more than I could take.
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