It’s the little things. It’s the sepia-tinged doilies tied with raffia around curly twigs, the first time you hear Fairytale of New York this Christmas, a Fry’s Chocolate Cream.
It’s the green-tinged white roses he leaves lying in the porch for you to find, gloves with the teeniest row of pearly buttons, and a late afternoon call from your Mum wondering why you have been so quiet all day. It’s December, a little boy fretting about his performance as a shepherd, the Aran jumper wrapped hot water bottle that soothes your aching tummy and a tiny shrub of evergreen fir sitting in a jam-jar on your bedside.
It’s the tiny things: a recipe for cinnamon roasted almonds discovered on Twitter, a glass of warm blackcurrant, the eucalyptus on your hanky. It’s the lists you are making compulsively, thank-you’s beamed telepathically to those who sign up for your year of Puttery Treats, the odd little message your little boy leaves on your pillow, the wind blu and blu + the howse woz batered but that bird she had wings of fyre, and the cozy hum of the boiler springing into life at six o’clock in the morning.
It is rows of tiny children wrapped up like snowmen, Little Clusters of loveliness, and the lavender soap you wash your hands in daily. It’s Christmas Cards wrapped in ribbon-tied bundles, black pudding and the moment you crawl exhausted into an icy cold bed and swoosh your arms and legs in and out like a snow angel on speed. It’s a china cupful of Darjeeling first thing in the morning, a crumpet topped with Marmite cheese, and a pair of boots that make him laugh out loud and declare he will no longer be seen in public with you.
It’s tangoing hunch-backed down the hall to the bathroom with your babba, chicken fried rice and a blanket sprinkled with rhinestones. It’s the resolve to wear the boots ALL DAY EVERYDAY until he grows to love them because they are surgically attached to your feet, scaring yourself witless watching Paranormal Activity and the bliss that is knowing Christmas has arrived because you have just bought your annual copy of the Radio Times.
It’s the small things: his little felt-tipped hand clutched in yours on the way to school, a Shepherds Pie, the school Christmas fair, and an old lady who stops you and your Mum in the streets and says “Now tell me, my Darlings, do I look a fool in this hat?”
The tiny things, the little things, the small things.
This, that, everything.