We bought our first terramundi pot when I was pregnant. We didn’t know if our burgeoning bump was a boy or a girl – we referred to it only as Bean – but either way it seemed sensible to start saving for the future.
The tradition with a terramundi pot is that every time you have a new pot, you also write down a wish, and put that in with your first coin. So, sometime in late 2008, we wrote down our wish – for a healthy, happy Bean to arrive safely – and popped in our first pennies. It fast became a habit, coming home from work or the supermarket and immediately emptying our loose change into the pot.
Over the last five years, we managed to fill eight pots. We filled each one to bursting, until they were a real struggle to carry. Each one was a different design, a different colour. There were stars and stripes and swirls, pinks, purples, browns and blues.
Each time we started a new one, we thought carefully about the wish to accompany that pot. If you laid those wishes out, chronologically, they would provide quite the insight into our life and priorities over the last five years.
The pots have already moved with us once.
“What the bloody hell’s in this?” grunted the removal man, grimacing as he hauled a box of them up the stairs to our first floor flat.
But we decided they should not make the next move. Now that Bean is DorkySon, we decided those pennies – and they are all for him – would be better off earning interest in the bank.
There seemed little point in hauling them 10,000 miles to sit on a shelf looking pretty.
So the time came for the smashing. Having seen photos of a friend doing the same, I knew the best way was to wrap them in a towel and bang down your hammer, before unwrapping the towel to reveal the treasures and the terracotta shards within.
To begin with, I was strangely emotional about it all. We agreed to keep the very first pot – a simple cream coloured one with a purple star – intact. I felt too odd at the thought of cracking it open and seeing that first little wish out in the open, because so much has changed since then.
But after we had broken open our first few pots, it actually became quite easy. They gave a satisfying thunk as DorkySon brought the hammer down on them. We worked as a family to stack up the pounds and pennies within, and then paid them into the bank, one pot at a time. And it actually put a big smile on my face to see what we had wished for over the years. So many of them have come true.
By the time we had cracked pot number seven, and I had grown accustomed to seeing the amount in DorkySon’s bank account creeping up week-by-week, I was feeling less sentimental. When DorkySon begged me to let him break into the last one – or the first one, as it was – I relented, and brought it down from the shelf.
We wrapped it up in a beach towel, which was now brown with terracotta dust. He held the hammer in two hands, as we had shown him every time previously. And CRACK. He brought it heavily down on the pot.
Like all the others, it held a good amount, and we duly stacked it in rows, bagged it up and paid it in.
But here is the funny thing.
The wish had gone.
I was as baffled as DorkySon. His favourite moment of each opening had been scrambling through the coins to find the piece of pale yellow card with either my or DorkyDad’s handwriting on it. He was fascinated by our wishes, and wanted to know exactly when we’d made them – whether he was still ‘in my tummy’ or a baby or toddler at the time of writing.
DorkyDad and I both have a clear memory of the moment when we wrote that first wish and put it in the pot, and there is no possible way it could have fallen out, buried as it was under a heavy stack of coins.
The only explanation we could provide for DorkySon was that the moment that wish was granted, and we were blessed with a happy, healthy little Bean, the scrap of card must have disappeared from the pot like magic. Happy magic.
We are not quite sure what else to think.