The Christmas Table

As autumn fades, now winter’s due

A Christmas story, just for you

christmas-table-8Lucy lifted her net curtains and watched the hail as it bounced off the ground and felt the familiar lump in her throat that threatened tears.  No matter how heavy the hail was Lucy could still see across the road into her neighbour’s window.  She could never understand how the young ones these days never put up net curtains and anyone could see straight in.  Other houses had those blinds where it looked like the house was shut up completely.  Net curtains were perfect Lucy thought.  They looked so delicate and pretty but you could still see out of them and yet feel as though you had privacy.  Today, Lucy pulled her pretty nets to one side so she could see properly into Jane and Michael’s house opposite, actually rather glad they had no nets.  There they all were she sighed, before beginning to cry again.  She no longer cared about trying not to cry these days, there was nobody to see her pain anyway.  To be honest it was easier to give into the feelings of loneliness that would suddenly engulf her as she watched the family across the road.  Lucy sat down on the chair and lifted the curtain a little more as she saw the young family laughing and chatting as they gathered round the Christmas table.  The young ones were climbing onto their seats and Jane had the baby attached to her hip as usual while she stood stirring the pot on the oven hob.  Michael came into the room and took the baby from her and sat him in his highchair.  Together Michael and Jane brought the food to the table.  The next bit was Lucy’s favourite bit to watch.  There they all were a whole family around one table all laughing and joking, serving up food, eating and then after pudding pulling Christmas crackers to much hilarity.  Oh look at the mess thought Lucy smiling.  What she wouldn’t give to have such a mess in her tidy home.

Lucy remembered when her girls were little how noisy and busy the house always was.  Three girls they had been blessed with.  William would pretend to run away and hide saying he was always totally outnumbered and outvoted on every decision made.  It was always said with a smile, he adored his daughters.  Their table had been chaos at meal times.  Lucy remembered how hot and bothered she got at mealtimes and how she would tell everyone that’s how she got to stay so slim.  Somehow by the time she cajoled the girls into eating and managed to keep some sort of calm at the table she never managed to finish a meal herself.  Nobody, least of all Lucy, could believe that she would have triplets.  There was no multiple births on either side of the families.  We got to be the lucky ones William told Lucy when they first found out.  I can see the sweat beads and the fear in your eyes Lucy told him laughing.  It had been chaos then suddenly they were grown up and Lucy couldn’t understand how it had happened so quickly.

It was the year the girls were three that had been the most special for Lucy.  That year the girls really seemed to understand what Christmas was all about.  Handmade Christmas baubles brought home from Nursery were hung on the tree and the noise and excitement was a joy to behold.  The girls wanted to help dress the Christmas table that year.  Somehow it took twice as long, Lucy remembered.  Are they helping or hindering, William had said laughing.  The table was a complete mess, plates all in the wrong place, tinsel draped across the tablecloth which was now crumpled and half hanging off the table.  There was a sparkle of excitement in the girl’s eyes and Lucy told them it was the most beautiful Christmas table she had ever seen in her life and she gave the girls a round of applause as William scooped them up in his arms telling them once again how clever and wonderful they were.

As the girls grew up they became closer and closer to each other.  Lucy waited for the time when they would grow apart and go their own ways but it never happened.  When they were teenagers Lucy worried about them wanting their own rooms.  Instead they asked if a wall could be knocked down to make one huge bedroom that they could all share.  They each had their own corner and each part of the room was decorated differently yet they were still together.  Lucy remembered smiling one evening when she went into their room.  Linda was lying reading with headphones on, Marian was lying with her eyes closed, foot tapping listening to music and Josephine was on the computer also with headphones on.  In their own little worlds yet now and again catching each other’s eyes and smiling.  Lucy thought, not for the first time, how completely and utterly blessed she had been.  Of course, later that evening they all came stomping down the stairs, all hungry at the same time and Lucy had hurried into the kitchen.  Only 15 minutes later there they all were around the table chatting about their day and Lucy simply watched and listened.  What will happen when they grow up and want different things Lucy wondered?  Will they stay as close as they are now she worried?  Oh I hope so she whispered to herself.

The girls grew up and Marian was the first to fall in love with a boy called Nathan.  Lucy and William were thrilled to find out what a lovely boy he was.  He was fun, caring, respectful, everything they had wished for, except for one thing.  He was Canadian and only here for two years until he gained the work experience he needed to return home.  Lucy waited knowing what was going to happen and praying even harder it wouldn’t.   Marian and Nathan were in love and Canada was going to be an incredible adventure for them.  The wedding was absolutely wonderful and Lucy thought her knees were going to buckle as Marian walked down the aisle on William’s arm looking so very beautiful with Linda and Josephine behind her, both of them crying, their pretty little bouquets shaking. There were many tears that day but much laughter too as William stood and told the guests stories of Marian as a little girl and welcomed the Canadian side of the family.  Lucy smiled through it all feeling as though her heart was being ripped out.  She found it hard to imagine how it would feel with that empty space at the table.  This is only the beginning she thought.

As they all set the Christmas table that year, Linda and Josephine insisted on setting a place for Marian and stuck a photograph of her to the chair she always sat in.  The laptop was on Marion’s plate.  What on earth?  Lucy had said.  Wait and see mum the girls told her.  Skype it was called apparently, whatever that was.  Marion called just before lunch and the potatoes almost got burned as everyone forgot about the oven they were so excited to see Marian on the screen.  It’s just like you are actually here Linda and Josephine said.  Lucy’s heart missed a beat.  It’s nothing like it at all she thought as she looked at Marion’s face.  All she wanted to do in that moment was put her arms around her daughter on Christmas Day and tell her how much she loved her.  She said nothing, of course, nobody knew how she felt.  Except William maybe who placed his hand on Lucy’s shoulder.  Lucy shrugged it off quickly in case she cried.  I’m fine she said smiling.   I have a Christmas surprise for you all Marion said beaming from ear to ear.  Now watch the screen she said and began to walk slowly backwards.  There was a silence as they gathered nearer the laptop bending forward to make sure they could see.  Suddenly they realised what they were looking at when Marion turned sideways.  A tiny little bump.  There were shrieks and screams you could hear all the way down the street that day as the girls jumped up and down around the room unable to contain their excitement then they all burst into tears together.  Strangely enough, it was a quiet Christmas day after that and the girls found it hard to contain the pain of not being all together.  A grandma, Lucy said quietly to William and I am not there to see it.  We will go to Canada he said, all of us.  I promise.

William kept his promise and June found the whole family travelling to Canada to see Marian, Nathan and their baby daughter Olivia Lucille.  Well we had to name the first granddaughter after you mum, they told her.  Lucy wondered how on earth she still found tears to cry.  Honestly it seemed to be all she did at the moment.  The scene at the airport when they all arrived was one many people watched as the girls threw themselves into each other’s arms only becoming quiet when they looked over and saw Nathan with the tiny bundle.  They ooohed and aaaahed before finally Nathan walked over and placed Olivia Lucille  in her grandmother’s arms.  Lucy found herself unable to speak.  The next three weeks flew over and the scene at the airport when they were leaving was a very different one to the arrival.  Quiet and sombre.  Many, many tears.

Josephine and Linda had loved Canada and Lucy waited knowing what was to come.  When it happened though it still registered as a shock.  The girls had always been together and it was too hard to be apart.  They wanted to be round each other and loved the life in Canada.  So many opportunities mum they told her.  Lucy had never been braver in her life.  She hugged them and said they must do whatever was right for them.  Go ahead and live the dream darlings she told them.  Have the life most people only dream of she said hugging them.   William held her in his arms that night but Lucy didn’t and couldn’t cry.  She was completely numb.  There was Skype remember the girls told her, we can keep in touch daily and Lucy would have to be content with that she supposed.

The day the girls left for Canada they all sat around the table chatting excitedly and Lucy managed to hide the pain.   They were all in the car ready to leave when the girls remembered one thing they had left behind and hurried back into the house.  I think they want a moment before they leave said William to Lucy.

On the way home from the airport, William and Lucy never spoke, such was their pain.  Lucy paused for a moment at the door before placing her key in the lock dreading the silence that would greet them.  Cup of tea she said to William but he had already reached for the whisky bottle.  I think we deserve one my darling, he said and handed her the glass.  After another two glasses of the hard stuff, as William called it, Lucy said she thought they needed a cup of tea.  Feeling sad but a little cheered she walked into the kitchen and saw the table.  Her knees buckled and she cried out.  William came running through and then he too saw it.  On each of the three chairs there was a picture of their girls and a letter to mum and dad with many words of love and thanks for the incredibly wonderful parents they were and had always been.  William and Lucy sat all night at the table not wanting to leave it, reading the girls letters over and over again until they knew the words by heart.  Goodnight girls she said as she kissed each of their photographs and went to bed.

Seven grandchildren there were now.  Marian had three girls, Josephine and Linda had two boys each.  The children were all close to each other and it sounded like the perfect life.  Lucy and William spent as much time as they could in Canada and spoke almost every day on Skype.  Eventually at some point the pain had eased and planning each trip back to Canada helped.

There were so many of them now in Canada it was always easier for Lucy and William to go there but today the girls were coming home.  Just the three of them without their families as it was not a happy occasion.  Today the girls were returning home to say goodbye to their father and support their mum. Lucy was numb once more and the tears had not yet surfaced.  Lucy remembered very little of the service only aware of the girls holding her up and whispering comforting words through their tears.  The girls stayed for a whole week but Lucy insisted on them returning to their families.  Come with us mum they all pleaded but the pain was too raw.  All Lucy wanted to do was be in her own home surrounded by all her memories.  Together they all put a photograph of dad on his chair at the table and the girls broke down, once more pleading with mum to go home with them.  Home thought Lucy.  They think as Canada of home.  Well she supposed it was now and she would simply have to get on with it.   The next morning when she knew the girls were safely back in Canada, she would not call it home, she made herself a cup of tea and gave herself a good strong talking to. I have three healthy daughters living a wonderful, happy life.  Seven grandchildren I adore and who I get to hug next time I visit.  William left me financially sound so I can travel to Canada as much as I like and I am healthy.  Come on girl get a grip there’s much to be grateful for.  Lucy left the dining room refusing to look at the pictures on the chairs.  It was simply too much.  Photographs would never make up for actual people.

It was Christmas once more and Lucy was alone.  The first two years after losing William, she had set the Christmas table as usual and decorated the Christmas tree with the baubles the girls brought home from Nursery all those years ago.  This year Lucy had decided not to bother.  She got half way through decorating the tree and struggled to finish it.  It seemed so utterly pointless.  She was loved, had a large family, yet she was alone, how did that happen?  Her family loved, cherished and adored her yet she was sad and beyond lonely.  There was that awful feeling in the pit of her stomach that said you’re not needed anymore and Lucy wanted so desperately to be needed.    The girls had invited her to come and stay with them but she had been poorly lately and needed regular medication.  There was a hospital appointment just before Christmas that she had waited months for and to be honest she was not sure she was up to the journey alone.  Should I try to change the appointment, am I up to travelling?  The thoughts when round and round her head then just to make matters worse when she was wondering whether after all she should go she sprained her ankle. Well that’s that then she said feeling angry, defeated and just a little sorry for herself, I’m not meant to go.

Lucy lifted the nets again and watched Jane setting the table with Michael for Christmas dinner.  They had certainly gone to town this year she thought, there were at least three tables that stretched all the way through the lounge diner and goodness knows how many seats.  Jane had told her all the family were coming to her house this year. They were putting the crackers on the table now and it looked wonderfully festive.  Lucy dropped the nets when she thought she saw Jane looking over.  They will be thinking I’m such a nosy parker Lucy thought embarrassed.  Lucy was very fond of Jane, Michael and the children.  They popped in regularly and Lucy always made sure she had a treat for the little ones.  The fridge was stocked with ice lollies and their favourite juice.  They all loved Aunty Lucy.

Lucy walked over to the oven where she had forced herself to make a proper Christmas dinner. No matter what the girls said about her coming to live with them in Canada Lucy knew they were just being kind.  After all no matter how close they were, the girls should have a life of their own and Lucy would not be a burden.  The girls would have a wonderful family Christmas and she would see them soon.  That’s just how it should be.  She placed her dinner on the tray and refused to look at the empty table and the photographs as she passed.  Christmas day, alone with a tray on her knee by the fire she thought.  As she slowly ate her tears dropped one by one into the gravy as the pain of loneliness engulfed her.

Lucy jumped when there was a knock at the door.  Who on earth can that be she thought?  It could only be Jane.  Lucy was highly embarrassed at the thought of being caught looking through her curtains.  Yesterday Jane had turned up just as she was taking the photographs off the chairs in a fit of self-pity.   Honestly, where is my head, Lucy thought, not being able to even remember where she had put the photographs?  Not that she was going to put them back up when she found them.  It was too ridiculous.  Its people you needed on chairs not photographs she said angrily.

The knocking persisted and Lucy thought she would have to face it and answer the door.  Jane felt sorry for her she knew that but Lucy wanted no part of anyone’s sympathy today.   She wanted to be left alone with her thoughts and memories, then tonight they would all get together on Skype and Lucy would put on her happy face.  The table was going to be sold after Christmas.  Move on she told herself ignoring the knocking at the door which to be honest seemed to be getting quite frantic.  Lucy sighed and placed her tray on the floor and went to answer the door.

Goodness said Jane, I was getting worried about you.  I know it’s an imposition but I have so many people coming today and Michael as usual is being useless in the kitchen, please come and give me a hand with the children Lucy.  I know you said you didn’t want to come over today but I’m passed desperate for help.  Lucy smiled.  Give me a minute to grab my keys and handbag she said.  Together they crossed the road Jane chatting non-stop and Lucy praying with all her heart for this day to be over as quickly as possible.

Jane and Lucy walked into the dining room and Lucy wondered what on earth it could be that needed still doing then suddenly she noticed them.  The photographs.   Lucy had no idea what to say and was unable to speak anyway.  Why on earth did Jane have her chair photographs?  There was a movement behind her and Lucy’s heart jumped as Marian walked into the room and took the picture from the chair, threw it across the room laughing and took her place at the table.  Then followed Josephine and Linda who both did the same.  Still Lucy was rooted to the spot hardly able to breath when suddenly all the children came running into the room screaming “Grandma” fighting to be picked up and Lucy went down on her knees and began hugging them.  Happy Christmas mum the girls all chorused at once.

It was the most incredible Christmas day and extremely noisy just as it should be.  Oh William, the whole family around the table she whispered.  It was the greatest gift she could possibly have received.

Six months later Lucy stood once more looking through her window which no longer had any nets hanging there.  The house was empty except for the table and chairs in the dining room.  The family that were moving in here loved it and asked if they could keep it.  Oh yes, Lucy had told them, it is a table built for families after all.

Lucy checked her bag again for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.  All her suitcases were packed.  The girls had refused to take no for an answer at Christmas and she was going out to Canada to live with them.  They had seen to all the paperwork and had been back and forwards to England sorting it all out.   The girls all lived near to each other but Marian had the largest house and her husband had built an annex for her.  She would see her girls and grandchildren every single day yet they would still all have their independence.

There was a knock at the door, the taxi was here.  Lucy patted her handbag with the photograph of William inside.  “Come along” she said. “Didn’t think I would leave you behind surely?  She turned and looked into the dining room for the last time.

“Goodbye table.  Be happy” she whispered.

God Bless you all on your run up to Christmas.  

For more stories please visit suzannelambert.com

 

 

born to write image 2

Born to Write Workshop

Saturday 30th September 9.30 – 4.30

Were you born to write?  For myself, it is something I could never possibly have dreamed of and yet in November 2017 my third book will be published.  Exciting times.  I would like to share with you my life experiences from my humble beginnings to becoming a published author with Penguin Random House.

I met many wonderful people along the way who encouraged, supported and taught me so much about the writing process.

I would love to share all this information with you and will be  running a creative writing workshop on Saturday 30th September in Wallsend hosted by the wonderful Sonya Hudson from Life Body Soul.

We will be having fun interactive writing sessions, discussing Social Media and the important role this plays today and much more.

If you are interested in coming along or would like more information, please contact Sonya at Life Body Soul on Facebook.

Pens at the ready…….hope to see you there and I look forward to seeing you.

Suzanne Lambert

http://www.suzannelambert.com

 

The Puppy and the Orphan

The Puppy and the Orphan

Little Billy looked up to the stars and wondered if mummy and daddy could hear him as his tears fell silently.  Nancy would have her hands full in the orphanage nursery this year but there were many surprises in store that even she could never have imagined possible.

Fortunately, Christmas was approaching and, as we all know, Christmas is a time for magic and miracles.

I loved writing this book and hope so very much that you enjoy it.  As always, I am grateful for your support.

Available for pre-order on Amazon or via my website suzannelambert.com

With love

Suzanne

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday My Precious Child

Gemah Birthday Photo 8

I woke early this morning and wondered ……was it really 30 years ago today that my life changed completely and my world became the most beautiful place to be as I looked into my daughters eyes for the very first time.

So many people had told me that no matter how hard it was bringing a child into the world the pain and fear would be forgotten the first moment I held her. There are many words I would have liked to have said to those people during the long hours of labour but oh how right they were.  There are not enough words in the world to describe that feeling.  My mother taught me many years ago about the bubbly feeling inside when we felt happy and from the moment my beautiful tiny daughter was placed in my arms I felt an explosion of happiness inside and cried as I looked at the perfect little baby looking back at me.  Then there was that moment she reached for my hand the very first time.  Oh my, what I wouldn’t give to be able to turn back time, pick her up and hold her in my arms.

There are so many things I could have told her when the midwife handed her to me but I was so choked up with emotion all I managed was ‘hello there.’  Mind you I have made up for it over the years and never a day has gone by that I don’t stand by her side chatting endlessly, constantly telling her how much she means to me, how much I love her, moving house to be near her, turning up at her house unannounced just to check she is OK.  Loving her I call it.  Stalking she calls it, with laughter in her voice.

Gemah Birthday Photo 4

Today as I look at her I could almost burst with pride not only for her achievements, and there are many, but most of all for the person she is.  She is a kind and gentle soul yet has a strength and courage that has carried her through the challenges that life has thrown at her.

A constant by her side is her husband who has loved her since she was 14 years old and continues to show his love for her every single day.  He is a wonderful father and husband and I thank God for him every single day.  How blessed we are to have him in our lives.

When I am asked, ‘what does it feel like to be a mother,’ my first thought is fearful.  I expected always to love my child unconditionally knowing I would fight her battles, always forgive, encourage and support her but I never realised how absolutely terrifying it was to bring up a child and the amount of worrying I would do for her.  I thought there was something wrong with me until fortunately many other parents told me they felt exactly the same.

Gemah Birthday Photo 5

I have often watched her sitting on the floor after a long day at work playing with the children.  The look in their eyes as they smile at her is a joy to see.  My heart is filled with so much love for the beautiful grandchildren she brought into the world.  The children are in no doubt just how very much they are loved.  How proud grandma would be of you my darling.

Gemah Birthday Photo 6

And so in gratitude I thank my beautiful mother, Nancy, who I miss every single day for her encouragement and support as my daughter Gemah made her way into the world.  The love between them was incredible to be a part of.  I thank God for keeping Gemah safe and standing beside her as her sons were born, eventually safely, after a few traumatic moments.

Gemah, my darling, you are everything to me.  Your smile lights up the room when you walk in and your laughter is infectious.  You tell me every single day that you love me and never fail to include me in your life.  You have such patience and are constantly encouraging and supporting me.

Gemah Birthday Photo 7

There aren’t enough words in the world to express just exactly how much you mean to me so I will say this.

I have loved you from the moment I knew you had been sent to me.

I loved you the whole time I carried you.

I loved you with my entire heart the moment you were placed in my arms.

I have loved you every single day for 30 years.

My darling daughter Gemah

I have loved you always, I love you now, I will love you forever until I go home.

And then my darling I will love you more surrounded by the forever magic grandma told us about.

I close my eyes now and I can hear her sweet voice telling me all about it  It is a moment I have never forgotten and never will.

‘Listen,’ she said.  What if there is a magic that exists inside every single person?  A magic we carry within and around ourselves throughout our whole lives, until we return home.  It is then the magic becomes a beautiful energy which surrounds the ones we have left behind.

Real magic never stops, it is always there for you to see and feel.  It is when you feel at your lowest, when despair and loss threaten to break you, that the magic will be most powerful.  You see, when you love someone, the magic binds you together and stays there for all eternity.  Souls do not lose each other when they have shared a magical journey.  It is simply just a moment in time and then the magic is merged and we are together once more.  Forever Magic is eternal.’

I have been surrounded by magic and enchantment from the day I became your mother.  I have laughed so much and cried with pure joy.  You are the greatest gift I have every received.

Now let the fun begin, have a wonderful day and I look forward to the birthday madness with all of us together as we celebrate, laugh, hug and eat lots of food.  Oh and most importantly, the Blue Wicked is chilling in the fridge.

Happy Birthday and God bless you my beautiful child, I am so very proud to be your mother and I simply could not love you more.

With Love

Mam

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

Feathers

 feather 4

A story of love to warm your heart and soothe your soul.  This is the story of Laura and Bob for whom love lasted a lifetime and beyond.

Today was the first time Laura had ever seen a beautiful white perfect feather. She’d heard about them of course and read all about Angel messages in a book she had received as a birthday gift.  The book had been hidden away under a cushion and forgotten about until she came across it a few days ago.  Heavily pregnant and extremely tired Laura had picked it up and began to read  until suddenly the first pain shot through her and all thoughts of angels and feather were immediately forgotten.  Well there wasn’t going to be much time for reading from now on, Laura thought, smiling to herself as she looked at the tiny baby asleep in her arms.  She was trying to figure out how she felt in this moment now.  Right now.  Mindfulness they call it, when you live in the moment of now, or so the book said.  ‘Well then, how do I feel,’ Laura whispered to the tiny child?  Overwhelmed maybe and just a little bit frightened, she thought.  Laura looked down at her daughter and stroked her cheek.  Kate was two hours old, wrapped in an ivory shawl and the thought in Laura’s head was that her tiny daughter was as light as a feather.  That’s when it happened for the very first time. The smallest of pure white feathers fluttered down from somewhere and landed on the shawl.  So delicate and pretty and the sign of angel presence according to the book.  Laura looked all around the room wondering where it could possibly have come from and there was absolutely nowhere, it just didn’t make sense.  Maybe it didn’t have to.  It was such a beautiful moment, one Laura would never forget. That single moment in life when everything was as it should be, when her heart was bursting with such joy she could hardly breathe. Very gently Laura picked the feather up and as she did the child stirred and looked up at her.  Together their eyes rested on the little white feather.  There was silence except for the very gentle sound of breathing as Laura held her daughter to her breast so they could breathe in time together.

Laura and Bob had gone on to celebrate the birth of two more daughters and each time Bob would buy her a feather to place in the child’s hand.  It was what Laura wanted.  ‘Our own very special gift for each child,’ she would say.  Bob had always loved Laura from the first moment he saw her working in the local newsagents.  He bought more magazines than he could ever hope to read in the next few weeks until one day he summoned up the courage to walk in and ask her out.  He said ‘hello,’ then stuttered and stumbled over his words until Laura asked him his name.  ‘Bob,’ he answered.  ‘Well my name is Laura and I think it’s about time you asked me out don’t you?’  They had never looked back.  It was meant to be she told him over and over again.  The angels decreed it.  Well he wasn’t sure about that but whatever and whoever took him into the newsagents that first day he would be eternally grateful.

It was Laura Bob was thinking about today as he stood looking out of the window in a house that was far too quiet.  In all their years together he had often wondered how it would feel to have a bit of peace and quiet.  It wasn’t at all how he imagined it would be.

Fifty three years they had been married.  How on earth could all that time have passed by?  The newsagents was long gone, now part of a new block of very modern flats.  The girls were all grown up with children of their own and they planned a long and extremely tiring retirement if Laura had anything to do with it.

‘We must travel,’ she would say and spend hours flicking through travel brochures planning trips to places they would never go.  There was always a school play to attend, babysitting duties, birthday parties, which Bob remembered smiling were always at their house with Laura in the centre of things.  They had been talking about the possibility of a cruise one day and Laura had laughed.  ‘Maybe one day Bob when nobody needs me,’ she had said, then instantly her eyes had filled with tears.  ‘Oh how awful that would be,’ she whispered.

It had been a wonderful marriage he thought.  They rarely argued or disagreed.  Simply because Laura would turn around with tearful eyes, tilt her head to one side and I would immediately back down and agree to whatever it was she wanted, Bob thought.  ‘There now all is well,’ she would say and continue with her plans.

There was never a quiet moment in the house.  One by one the children had left home.  Bob had proudly walked his daughters down the aisle as Laura cried, each time feeling the loss and wondering what on earth she was supposed to do now.  Fortunately, by the time their last child left home the first grandchild was on its way and the house was suddenly filled with travel cots, bottles, baby clothes and a high chair.  Kitchen cupboards became impossible to open because there were baby locks on them and the beautiful wooden floor that Bob said had been perfectly safe for their own children was now to be replaced by carpets.  ‘Safer for them when they begin to crawl,’ Laura told Bob.  He would have stood up to her and told her she was being ridiculous but the light shining in her eyes stopped him.  There was a glow about her that he had not seen since the children left home.  Why had they been so lucky Bob often thought to himself?  All these years in the same house.  All he ever had to do was look around him and it was all there.  So many memories.

Bob had walked from room to room yesterday until he could no longer bear the wonderful memories. The hallway where Kate had taken her first steps.  Honestly the celebrations, you would think no other child had ever done such a thing.  The spare bedroom where his youngest grandchild’s cradle now stood.  He had walked slowly over and gently rocked the cradle remembering the day he brought Laura home from hospital.  They had put the baby in the cradle and stood either side of it absolutely terrified of the responsibility.  Where on earth had the time gone, Bob thought once more before making his way downstairs.  He sat on the bottom step and stared at the front door with a lump in his throat remembering all those years ago carrying Laura across the threshold on their wedding night, both of them giggling nervously.  They had been so much in love.

Today as Bob turned away from the window he looked around.  There were Feathers everywhere in the house.  Each one with a very special meaning but he couldn’t look at them now so he turned back to stare out of the window where life was normal.  People went shopping, chatted, hurried to work, drove cars and Bob watched them. He leaned his head against the cool glass.  All he wanted was to be dashing round a supermarket somewhere, Laura at his heels making him to hurry up because there was still so much to do.  Babysitting, preparing the Sunday lunch, cleaning.  How wonderful that would be.

Bob watched some children across the street playing and continued to reminisce.  He should be grateful he supposed.  Three healthy children, four grandchildren and a house that was never empty.  Laura had cooked lunch every Sunday and expected every one of her children and grandchildren to be there.  Every grandchild’s birthday would be celebrated at their house with balloons, party games, food and naturally a birthday cake.  ‘No sneaking out of the house for you young man,’ she would tell him while handing him a bag of balloons to blow up.  ‘You’re the man of the house you have to be here.’  The last birthday party Bob had folded his arms and said ,‘remind me when I last got a say in what goes on in this house.  Man of the house indeed, only when it suits you my girl.’  ‘Oh behave,’ she told him ‘you know you love it all really.’  Of course he did, they were lucky him and Laura.

Every anniversary Laura would cook them their own very special meal.  He was remembering the little restaurant he had taken her to on their first date.  A little Italian bistro on the high street.  It was cheap and the best he could afford at the time after spending most of his money on magazines.  They had both eaten Spaghetti Bolognaise washed down with a glass of cola. Bob had tried so hard not to laugh at Laura trying to be sophisticated and failing miserably.  When the last bit of spaghetti lashed each side of her cheeks sending bolognaise sauce flying everywhere they had both burst out laughing until he leaned over and dabbed at the corner of her mouth with a napkin.  Without a shadow of a doubt Bob knew he would love her for the rest of his life and told her so there and then.

On their first anniversary Bob wanted to take her back to the restaurant but Laura said she wanted to surprise him.  When he came home from work that night it was to romantic music, a candle lit room and the most delicious smell coming from the kitchen.  They had laughed so much that night enjoying the wonderful spaghetti bolognaise that Laura had cooked promising that this is how they would celebrate every year.  No restaurant, just the two of them.

And so they had, even this year.   He had almost lost his temper with the nurses which is something Bob could never have imagined doing.  They had been absolutely wonderful not only to Laura but to him.  Still he insisted, even if it meant carrying her home himself.  It wasn’t necessary, they understood.  She had been too weak to walk so Bob and the girls had decorated her wheelchair in feathers and pretty ribbon and had set out the kitchen like a little bistro and cooked their favourite meal.

It had been the most special anniversary ever, they had chatted and laughed, reminisced and even sipped a little wine, not allowed, but who cared, tonight was very special.  All thoughts of the last few months pushed firmly to the back of their minds just for tonight.  This year there was a slight difference to the anniversary celebrations.  After the meal the door burst open and the children and grandchildren shouted ‘surprise.’  The children ran round the room with balloons, they all played silly games and the children carried in the cake and shouted happy anniversary.  Everyone stayed late and for just a moment during the evening Bob forgot all about the situation.  It was only when during all the noise of the party Bob looked over and saw Laura was sleeping that he was brought back to reality with a thump.  Laura slept all the way back to the hospital and very fortunately did not see the tears streaming down her husband’s face.  He gently lifted her into bed and one of the feathers from the wheelchair had caught in her dress.  He looked at it for a moment then placed it in her hand and kissed her goodnight.  There were bits of cake stuck to her sleeve and he began to clean it off when the nurse arrived.  ‘I will do that for you,’ she said smiling.  ‘No thank you, I can manage just fine,’ Bob replied. Gently, he leaned over and kissed her.  ‘Happy Anniversary sweetheart,’ he whispered.

Today Bob leaned against the window almost wishing the numbness would come back.  It helped block out the pain.  He was remembering how hard he had tried not to listen when the doctors had had told him what was happening.  He had been angry with them for not making her better and he had told them so.  It was then he had suddenly lost the feeling in his fingers and toes and the iciness spread through him making him shiver uncontrollably.  The small room they were in had been so hot, the radiator on full, but none of it reached him.  He had pleaded to be left alone but the young nurse had simply sat beside him and took his hand without speaking.  Cups of tea had been sent for and left to go cold.  Many hours later Bob found his voice and said on no account was Laura to be told.  He wouldn’t have it.  She might give up. ‘ Please don’t tell her,’ he pleaded. ‘I don’t want her to be frightened.’  Bob had hurried to the rest room, washed his face and gave himself a good telling off.  It would be fine surely.  He took a deep breath and rang the children briefly, knowing if he spoke to them for too long he would become upset again.  He walked purposefully down the long corridors wanting nothing more than to take Laura in his arms and march straight out of there.

Was it only last week he thought when they had sat chatting.  ‘Doctor said everything will be fine,’ he had told her.  Laura took his hand and smiled.  ‘Bob darling you always were the worst possible liar.’  They began to talk about the children and grandchildren.  Safe subjects.  They planned young Joseph’s next birthday party and talked long into the night about anything other than why they were here.  It was then Laura told Bob what she would do to let him know she was alright.  ‘You must believe,’ she had told him, ‘promise me.’  Bob promised.

The television had never been on so much as it had since Laura went into hospital.   Every time Bob left the house he would switch it on to ensure there would be voices when he returned.  A quiet empty house was simply too lonely for words.  The children after all had their own lives to lead, there was work, school, and football practice.    He had told them he was fine and to stop fussing then felt angry at himself.  It was up to him surely to hold the family together but then remembered that was what Laura did best and he was no match for her.

He had been offered help which he refused.  How on earth could anyone make this better?  ‘Any miracles in your back pocket,’ he had said to one of the counsellors ‘because unless you have then forget it.’  Immediately, he had turned away then just as quickly turned back and apologised, but they understood.  They were trained to do so, he supposed.  Last night he had sat in his favourite comfy chair and under the cushion found one of Laura’s angel books.  He could see her face now, could hear her laughter and imagine her in the room with him.  ‘Oooh look Bob, it’s a sign,’ she would say and he would smile at her and shake his head.  ‘It’s a sign you’re losing it,’ he would tell her and she would throw a cushion at him.  Yes that’s exactly how it would be, he thought smiling and continued to play out the scene in his mind.  Bob picked the book up and held it closely to him because he could smell her perfume on it.  Somehow it brought him comfort so he began to read it.  He read the book over and over again hoping and praying that every word was true.  He was still far from convinced and yet there was a spark of hope that told him just maybe his Laura was right.

Bob was still standing at the window and had no real idea how long he had been there.  The house across the street turned their Christmas lights on and Bob thought about last week when he had gathered the family together and told them Laura would be coming home for Christmas.  Bob had absolutely refused to have Laura taken to a hospice when she had a perfectly good home to go to so everything had been put in place and Laura’s new bed was in the lounge.  There was great excitement and the grandchildren said they should have the biggest tree in the whole wide world.  Bob told them he couldn’t agree more.  Nurses would be coming in every day and Bob suddenly with a new spring in his step started to prepare for his wife coming home to the tallest and most special Christmas tree he could find.  It was carried out like a military operation, Laura would have been so proud.  The grandchildren were to pick the tree decorations, the girls were to buy lights and a tree stand.  My job said Bob is to find the biggest Angel in the shop for the top of the tree.

There had been much laughter in the garden centre that day as they all ran round choosing garlands, bright red tinsel, baubles and fake snow until two trolleys were piled high.   When Bob was told how much he had spent he faked a faint making the whole family roar with laughter.  All anyone would have seen looking on that day was a happy family preparing for Christmas.  There were, of course, more hysterics when it came to putting the Christmas tree into his Son in Law’s van and the children were screaming with laughter as they heaved and pushed and eventually managed to get it in.  Back home the children wound tinsel round the legs of Laura’s bed, hung baubles from the bedposts and were extremely pleased with their handy work.  Lucy who was always the artistic one suddenly had the idea of making a pair of Angel wings out of paper to glue onto the bedposts so everyone was hurriedly gluing white pieces of paper together.  By late evening they were all thoroughly exhausted and after eating dinner prepared by the girls two of the grandchildren fell asleep. As midnight approached the girls carried on finishing all the decorating and then cleaning up as they carried the young ones onto the sofa and covered them with a blanket.  ‘Come on Dad’ they said, ‘this is the best bit.’  They handed him the Angel for the top of the tree before switching the lights on.  ‘Mum will love this,’ they said, ‘wait till she sees that it lights up can you imagine her face’.  ‘A battery powered Angel’ said Bob ‘whatever next’ and everyone burst out laughing.  He held the angel for a moment then gave it back to Kate. ‘Mum has to be here when we put this up,’ he said and they all quickly nodded in agreement.  Later that evening Bob poured himself a whisky and looked around him.  ‘Wait until I tell you how much I spent today Laura’ he said smiling.  ‘That should make you sit up’ he told the empty room.

Tomorrow, he would make the final arrangements to bring Laura home. How excited she would be to see the angel wings on her bed and the spray snow that was not only on the Christmas tree but all around the room.  Bob hadn’t the heart to stop the children.  ‘Leave them Bob,’ he could hear Laura saying.  ‘Let them have their fun’ and so he had.  It had been a good day and there would be many more to come Bob was sure of it.  Somehow when he got her home she would get better.  How could she not get well in a home that was filled with so much love?  Laughter apparently released happy hormones and made you feel better so Bob was determined there would be no sad faces when Laura came home.

Bob closed his eyes and began to dream.  They would all be gathered around the most colourfully decorated bed in the whole world.  The grandchildren would be sitting on the bed cuddled up to their grandma, Bob would place the Angel on the top of the tree and the girls would switch on the lights.  There would be a gasp of delight, the children and Laura would clap their hands and Bob would take a bow.  It was a perfect dream.  When Bob finally went to bed that night the first flakes of snow had begun to fall and the little Angel seemed to sparkle and shimmer in the glow of the moonlight filtering through the windows.

Preparations were finalised and the family eagerly awaited Laura’s return home on Christmas Eve to the welcome home party.  This year everyone would be staying over so they would all wake up together to Celebrate Christmas morning.  It would be a noisy house just the way Laura like it.  There were Christmas presents hidden all over the house and the girls had been busy wrapping for days and bringing over everything they would need for the Christmas sleep over.

As Christmas Eve approached Bob was counting the minutes until she came home.   Christmas was a time for miracles and Laura’s angels would surely take care of her. Yes, that’s how it would be from now on and she would get stronger every day.

Laura looked out of the window at the falling snow as she listened to the choir that had come along to sing for the patients.  Mentally, she was going through all the presents Bob had told her the children were getting this year and imaging their faces when they ripped the paper off as they always did.  The biggest Christmas tree in the world she thought to herself, what on earth was happening to her sensible Bob and goodness only knows what state the house was in.  Laura had never cried, it would do no good.  She was frightened but it wasn’t necessary for anyone to know that.  She would be fine after all but goodness knows what would happen without her.  Bob had never in all their married years got to grips with the washing machine without dyeing everything a different colour and never had she got him to check all the clothes for tissues before putting them into the machine.  He was absolutely hopeless at remembering birthdays and she always had to remind him.  The girls would keep him right of course.  The girls.  Laura could not think of them now, or the grandchildren.  I’m telling you now she told her angels, don’t you be going and thinking I will be floating around on clouds, playing harps and swinging on stars.  No way. I am a grandmother, wife and mother.  Better let the big man know I intend to be busy watching over my family. ‘Just so you know,’ she said out loud.  The choir began to sing Away in a Manger one of Laura’s favourite hymns and she closed her eyes and began quietly to sing along.  The snow that had begun to fall quite heavily now was so pretty she thought to herself and then for the very first time as the choir sang Silent Night Laura began to cry.

The telephone call that no-one wanted came in the early hours of Christmas Eve. Laura’s Angel’s had called her home to celebrate Christmas with them.  The Angel with the batteries never made it to the top of the tree and was placed back in the box.  The pain was unbearable but they carried on.  ‘Laura would have wanted it,’ he told the girls, the children must have their Christmas morning.  Bob began to think about Laura’s promise.  It was the only thing that kept him going.

He had asked to go alone and see her.  Still so beautiful looking to all the world like she was only asleep.  ‘Was it the shock of how much I spent this Christmas,’ he asked her with a false laugh, ‘no need to go to this extreme you know.’  He began to tell her about what they had prepared for lunch.  ‘Just in case you fancy dropping in,’ he said.  All these years together and Bob could not think of another single thing to say to her.

Today as he stood looking out of the window the cold feeling was returning and he began to feel numb.  ‘Just you remember,’ he said, ‘don’t let me down now.  I’m waiting.  A promise is a promise’.  The family arrived and they all chatted around him but he heard nothing.  He had to concentrate hard in case he missed it.

During the past few days they had all been busy with arrangements.  Bob felt withdrawn from them all and was happy to let his children take over.  He had watched and waited for days, still nothing and soon he felt it would be too late.  Laura hadn’t kept her promise, not yet anyway.

Maybe it would be today when they were finally saying goodbye, yes that was it.  Definitely it would be today.  Time was running out though and the family would be here soon.  At least the sound of the children’s voices would take away the awful silence that he had endured all morning.  He had tried putting on the television, then the radio but he couldn’t listen to people talking as though today was just the same as any other day.  It wasn’t.

Still nothing.  So that was it then, this was how it was going to be from now on.  This mindfulness thing she always went on about, maybe it was time after all these years to give it a go.  Living in the moment, she called it.  Surely it had to be better than looking to the next five minutes, five hours, five days, months, years.  That was not possible now, not anymore, not without her.  Looking ahead, planning, thinking about the future that was something they did together.  The here and now would be good enough from now on.  Bob jumped at the bang on the door.  They were early.  He had wanted to be alone with his memories this morning.  The family had tried to insist on staying with him overnight but he had put his foot down.  He had compromised and they were coming over to sit with him to wait for Laura arriving.  Bob squeezed his eyes tightly shut.  They were too early and it still wasn’t here and she had promised.   Just five more minutes, he thought.  He heard a second knock then a key being turned in the lock.  Bless them he thought, knocking first to give him time to pull himself together.  He put on a brave face and walked over to his family.  No flowers by request it said in the notice.  Laura had never been one for flowers.  There was something else she loved more, always had, and the house was covered in them.  On shelves, under statues, in boxes and drawers where she would look at them and smile.  Each one of them reminding her of different times in her life, each one a special memory of special times.   Little white feathers and each time Laura had found one she would become so excited.  Look she would say, a message from the Angels and place it somewhere around the house.  Each anniversary and birthday he would buy her a new angel book or card and last year she had been thrilled when he had given her a beautiful glass Guardian Angel statue.

There was noisy chatter all around him but he heard nothing because he needed to concentrate.  People were speaking to him but he didn’t hear them.  Still it hadn’t come and Bob was beginning to panic.  She had promised and in all the years they had been together he had never known Laura break a promise.  He had tried to push the thought away that maybe she had been wrong all these years, maybe it had all just been coincidence but the thought of it not being true was too painful to contemplate.  Bob squeezed his eyes shut.  ‘Please God let it be true.  Come on Laura, time is running out,’ he whispered.

Bob jumped when Kate placed a hand on his shoulder, ‘Dad it’s time to go.  Your neighbour is here to watch the children.’  Bob walked towards the door and paused to look over his shoulder one last time.  The bed in the corner of the room that had been brought downstairs for Laura was still there.  He had insisted.  The new feather pillows were there as his Christmas gift to her and Bob’s eyes stung with tears thinking that she had never seen them.  The pretty little battery powered angel still lay on top of the box and the Christmas tree lights were unplugged.

‘Dad,’ said Kate again gently.  Bob nodded and smiled at her.  It was time.  She hadn’t sent it.  Wasn’t going to.  He turned to face his family with a weak smile on his face as his daughter took his hand.

Suddenly, it happened.

The young boisterous twins raced across the room, dived onto Laura’s bed and the feather pillow burst open.

There was a stunned silence as time seemed to stand still.  There were feathers everywhere.  Floating in the air, resting on furniture, until slowly, as everyone watched in silence, they began to land gently on Bob’s shoulder.

The silence was broken when Bob burst out laughing and continued to laugh as the rest of the family all joined in.  ‘Nice one mum,’ whispered Kate as her eyes filled with tears.

Bob walked over to the Christmas tree and switched on the lights, then picked up the angel.  He pushed the batteries in and she lit up immediately.  Carefully Bob placed the Angel on the top of the tree.

‘Thank you Laura’ he said smiling, ‘although as always a little over the top.

Really darling…….one would have sufficed.

I hope you enjoyed it.  For more stories visit my website suzannelambert.com

With love and blessings.

The Rag Doll

ragdoll-tat

It was a bitterly cold Christmas Eve and Nancy was struggling to get thirty six very excited children to bed.  No easy task, as the snow had been falling all day and, thrilling as it was for the children, Nancy could have done without all that extra excitement.  It was going to be impossible to calm the little ones down enough so that they’d go to sleep.

The war was over at last and Nancy was determined to make this a special Christmas for the children.  Seventeen years I’ve been here now she thought.  So many Christmases. She still looked back on the day that she’d arrived, still thought about her mother, and how she’d felt first looking at those gates at the entrance to Nazareth House Orphanage.  And yet she’d made a life here, found a job – or more of a vocation it was really, she supposed – looking after the children in the nursery.  It was a job she loved, even on the longest, most tiring days, when the chores seemed never-ending.

Christmas Eve, and still so much to do!  The orphanage was full this year, the war had added to the numbers, there was no doubt about that but Nancy was determined that every child would have a wonderful Christmas.  She was worried though; times were hard, of course, and although they had donations of sweets and fruit for the children, there were very few toys to give them.

There were no Santa sacks or brightly coloured stockings for these children so Nancy had tied pretty coloured ribbons and bells, just like her own mother had shown her, to each of the socks which would dangle at the end of the thirty-six beds.  Earlier today, the children had been allowed to visit the kitchen to bake biscuits with Cook.  Nancy looked round the dormitory at the crumbs all over the floor and the drops of spilt milk.  Who cares? she thought.  The children had smiles on their faces and there had been lots of laughter as they put out the milk and biscuits for Santa and the reindeer.  The story books had been read, prayers said and finally, the children were beginning to settle.  I will clear up when they are asleep, said Nancy to herself, and please let it be soon!  She smiled.

Just as Nancy reached for the light, there was an excited whisper from one of the little girls.  “My friend at school is getting a rag doll for Christmas………can you imagine how wonderful that would be, a rag doll?

It was simply too much.  Nancy felt a catch at the back of her throat and had to will the tears to stay back.  One tear did manage to escape and she wiped it hurriedly away on her apron.  This simply will not do, she said to herself.  Pull yourself together!  Lots to do, lots to do!

It was fine, really it was.  A very kind benefactor to the orphanage had sent little cars for the boys and the stockings with the sweets and oranges for each child looked so pretty. For goodness sake, stop worrying, Nancy told herself.  It had been a wonderful Christmas Eve for the children and everything had gone to plan.  Her pleas to the cook to let the children bake biscuits had been granted and the children’s squeals could be heard all along the corridors.  The paper lanterns the children had made were draped all around the dining room and the playroom.  Nancy smiled remembering the children’s squeals of delight when they were hung up.  Yes, it had been a wonderful day.

As night-time drew near, Nancy went to close the curtains and paused to watch the snow still falling.  “It will be fine”,  she said quietly to herself.

And yet those whispered words stayed with her.  A rag doll………..can you imagine.

Well she would have to do something, it was up to her to make it happen.  After all, Christmas was a time for miracles, wasn’t it?

Post-war austerity for once worked in her favour.  In 1946, nothing was thrown away.  Old clothes were torn up into rags; buttons, ribbons and scraps of wool were all saved.  Nancy got out her button box too.  Some of the rags were used to tie round the girls’ hair to make ringlets on special occasions but Nancy had another idea that night.  She spread out everything she could find on the large table next to the sewing machine then she began. Hour after hour, the snow still falling, the radio in the corner of the room playing Christmas carols, Nancy rolled and cut the rags to make dolls, sewed buttons on for eyes, wool for their hair and ribbon to tie it.  She sewed until the early ours of the morning not even stopping for a cup of tea.

It really was a miracle, thought Nancy, that she had just finished putting the last rag doll into the last stocking when the chapel bells rang 6 o’clock.

Today the children didn’t need to be summoned twice.  They jumped out of bed and rushed to the stockings hanging at the end of their beds.

“Oh my goodness, I have rag doll”

“Me too”

“Me too, what colour is yours? Mine has a pink dress!

“Oh mine has blue eyes just like me”

And so it went on.

Tiredness forgotten, Nancy stood and watched them and listened to the sound of excited and happy children.  Christmas is magic, she said to herself, then hurried away to begin breakfast.

If it was possible to look into someone’s soul, it would have been an honour to see Nancy’s at that moment.  It must have been so pure and beautiful.

Somewhere in the world today those children will have celebrated many Christmas mornings with, I imagine, a little more than an orange and a rag doll.  I am also sure that never will their hearts have been filled with so much joy as they were that Christmas morning in 1946 when they received the greatest gift of all.  Love.

(From Christmas at the Ragdoll Orphanage by Suzanne Lambert)

 

Miss Patterson and the Dancing Daffodils

dancing-daffodils-3

Oh dear said Miss Patterson with a sigh.  It was Monday morning again and she was sitting in the empty classroom wondering what on earth she was supposed to do.  She’d had all weekend to think about it and had still not come up with any ideas.  There was a new Head Teacher this term.  Mr Wilson.  I have lots of new and exciting ideas for the future he had told the staff at their first meeting together last week. Miss Patterson had been extremely enthusiastic until the bomb was dropped.  There would be a school concert in April to celebrate his appointment and introduce himself to all the parents.  I want to be a well-known face and approachable at all times to both parents and staff, he had said.   It is also a chance for me to get to know your strengths and weaknesses so that we can work on them together.  The theme of the concert was to be spring.  New beginnings, he said.   Something else very close to his heart was bringing out the best in every single child, especially those who were falling behind or a little left out in any way.  They were to find ways to let them shine.  At that moment in every teachers mind came the name Lilly-May Allan.  Nobody said anything but everyone knew.   Miss Patterson unkindly thought, oh no, she is in my class this year what am I to do.  None of the teachers uttered a single word but each of them was secretly relieved and felt awfully sorry for Miss Patterson.  They had all taught Lilly-May at one time or another either in lessons or in the playground and had dealt with the chaos that followed her around.

Lilly-May Allan was as pretty as her name made her sound.  Bright blue eyes, fair wavy hair that refused to take notice of anything a comb or brush could do and the most beautiful smile that could light up a room.  Little Lilly-May was 6 years old and looked like a gentle, sweet little child.  Until that is, she moved.  Lilly-May  was the most clumsy child any of the teachers had  come across in their entire working career.  There was the incident in the art room when she had knocked the paint all over the floor, in the playground she had managed to trip everyone up with a skipping rope, almost managed to stun one of the dinner ladies with a ball and so it went on.   Miss Patterson refused to let her clean the blackboard after the last incident when somehow the wooden duster flew out of her hand and went flying across the class room nearly taking young Sylvia’s eye out.

On her way home after the announcement of the Spring concert, Miss Patterson had walked into somebody, trod on a gentleman’s foot  and dropped the contents of her bag whilst getting her purse out on the bus causing total mayhem during rush hour.  When she finally got to sit down and look out of the bus window she took a deep breath and told herself to stop all this nonsense and calm down for goodness sake.  Heavens above, she thought, I’m getting as clumsy as Lilly-May.  Miss Patterson didn’t have a problem at all with organising a school concert, in fact, she could see it all in her mind immediately.  The children dressed as daffodils.  The stage set as a garden strewn with pots of flowers and all the children dancing around singing songs.  There would be a bench on the stage where all the children would stand dressed as flowers swaying in the breeze.  Tonight after tea she would sit at her piano and begin to compose spring songs especially for the occasion.

Everyone always loved her songs.  It would be Miss Patterson’s finest moment.  The parents, staff and especially the new Head Teacher would be highly impressed.  She had enjoyed a long career, worked extremely hard and was to be put forward for Deputy Head next year when Mrs Dawson retired.  Deputy Head.  Imagine.  Miss Patterson had dreamed of this for so long and this was her chance to show everyone just how good a teacher she was.

As the bus trundled along through the busy streets she began once more to plan her spring concert.  Maybe, she thought, I could make a big plant pot and Lilly-May could sit in it, yes over in the corner that would be fine.  She wouldn’t need to join in the dancing.  Suddenly out of nowhere tears stung her eyes.  What on earth was she thinking?  She had been a teacher for over 25 years.  In fact she was now teaching the children of some of her first pupils.  Teaching wasn’t just about mathematics and history, it was about nurturing their talents.  She taught them lessons on friendship and told them stories that she felt would make them believe in themselves and Miss Patterson never tolerated even the slightest unkindness in her class.

The next morning Miss Patterson arrived in school half an hour early and gave herself a severe talking to.  There would be no plant pot for Lilly-May she would dance and sing around the stage just the same as all the other children and Miss Patterson would make sure she shone, sparkled and swayed in the breeze just the same as every other child.  All she had to do now was figure out a way to avoid any major catastrophes taking place.  It was a challenge.  Miss Patterson stood up abruptly and her chair scraped across the floor.  Standing tall, chin in the air she told the empty classroom.  We will do it.  Just you wait and see.

Over the next few weeks twenty two very excitable 5 and 6 year old children sat around the piano in the school hall practising their flower songs written especially by Miss Patterson for the spring concert.

Hours and hours were spent making the big yellow petals which were glued onto bright green hairbands.  Lilly-May naturally got her hands stuck to the glue, dropped yellow paint all over her dress, fell off the plant pot during rehearsal and had to be sent to the school nurse for the second time in one day.  Miss Patterson took a deep breath and said to herself for the hundredth time that day all will be well on the day Elsie, all will be well and turned her attention to cleaning up the paint and soil from the floor.

All the letters had been sent out to invite the parents to the very special spring concert featuring Miss Patterson and the dancing daffodils.  Late nights in the school hall and weekends at home had all been worth it when Miss Patterson finally stood back and looked at her handy work.   The school stage was covered with green tissue paper to look like grass.  There were big pots all over the stage that the children would stand in dressed as daffodils.  There were 22 big cardboard daffodils with each child’s photograph in the middle.  One of her more inspiring ideas she thought.  The parents would love them.  A big yellow smiling sun hung from the beam above the stage.  A large plastic plant pot with the largest yellow daffodil stood on a painted wooden post with the words ‘Welcome to our Spring Concert’ painted on it.  Just enjoy yourselves Miss Patterson told the children knowing full well that parents always loved anything their children did.  It mattered not whether they sang out of tune, bumped into each other or forgot their words.  Experience told her the parents would love it regardless.  If it goes wrong,  curtsy, smile and pretend it was meant to be she told them laughing.

It was the evening of the concert.  Some of the daffodils were standing in plant pots, others on the pretend grass and some in a line on the bench, all ready to sway, sing and dance.  The school hall was full to capacity, some parents having to stand at the back and down the sides of the hall.  A hush fell as Miss Patterson walked to the front of the hall to take her place at the piano.  She slowly lifted the lid, took a deep breath, said a quick prayer, flexed her fingers and began to play the first notes as the curtains opened to thunderous applause, oohs, aaahs, a few tears and flashes from cameras.  So far so good thought Miss Patterson with a smile on her face that hid the terror she was actually feeling inside.

All went well until the second song when Lilly-May got over excited and as she threw her arms out to the side at the end of the song slapped the faces of the children at either side of her.  The school hall roared with laughter and Lilly-May took a curtsy.

Miss Patterson, her heart beginning to slowly sink, simply smiled pretending to all the world that it was meant to happen.  Ten minutes later Lilly-May caught her foot in the pretend grass and as she twirled round the stage managed to take the green tissue paper with her ending up covered from head to toe at the end of the song.  She glanced over at Miss Patterson who managed a very weak smile and once more Lilly-May curtsied to howls of laughter and thunderous applause.  Keep going Elsie, just another five minutes Miss Patterson whispered to herself with a smile plastered on her face that gave absolutely nothing away.

Almost finished, the children were singing the last song.  Miss Patterson sighed with relief.  No major catastrophes.  She glanced around the room the parents and staff were all smiling at the children.  Mr Wilson looked very impressed and seemed to be laughing and thoroughly enjoying the whole production.

Miss Patterson nodded her head to the children and began to play the final notes of the last song.  The children began to climb out of their pots to take centre stage as they began to sing the daffodil song.  They were waving, singing, dancing and Miss Patterson was very happy indeed.

It was then it happened.  Suddenly during the very last line of the song.  Almost in slow motion.

Lilly-May took her place on the bench at the back, waved her arms in the air and hit the sun hanging from the beam.

The sun swung forward, and knocked the big plant pot standing on top of the wooden post.

It wobbled to the left………………..ooooooh said the audience

And then to the right…………….……aaaaaaah said the audience

And then to the final crescendo of the music that Miss Patterson was now playing with her eyes firmly and tightly shut, the plastic plant pot fell perfectly in time to the music and landed on Lilly-May’s head.  Lilly-May might have been unable to see but she still managed to curtsy.

There was only a moment’s pause before the whole school hall erupted into thunderous applause. Shouts of bravo, well done, amazing echoed around the hall.   Very slowly Miss Patterson opened her eyes, looked around and with a rather stunned look on her face, took a bow.

Mr Wilson hurried over and shook Miss Patterson’s hand.  Quite incredible he said to teach 5 and 6 year old children comedy.  The timing was impeccable, well done, really well done.  Miss Patterson just muttered and murmured thank you as her face became redder by the minute.

Mrs Allan hurried over to grab Miss Patterson’s hand.  Thank you so much, she whispered, with tears in her eyes.

The noise level in the hall was deafening, everyone was talking about Miss Patterson’s comedy spring concert.

Thank God I got the afternoon off work I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.

Thank God for something different, I thought I had seen it all.

Thank God for Miss Patterson, said the Head Teacher.

Thank God it was only on one night, said Miss Patterson.

 

 

The Christmas Table

christmas-table-10

As autumn fades, now winter’s due

A Christmas story, just for you

The Christmas Table

Lucy lifted her net curtains and watched the hail as it bounced off the ground and felt the familiar lump in her throat that threatened tears.  No matter how heavy the hail was Lucy could still see across the road into her neighbour’s window.  She could never understand how the young ones these days never put up net curtains and anyone could see straight in.  Other houses had those blinds where it looked like the house was shut up completely.  Net curtains were perfect Lucy thought.  They looked so delicate and pretty but you could still see out of them and yet feel as though you had privacy.  Today, Lucy pulled her pretty nets to one side so she could see properly into Jane and Michael’s house opposite, actually rather glad they had no nets.  There they all were she sighed, before beginning to cry again.  She no longer cared about trying not to cry these days, there was nobody to see her pain anyway.  To be honest it was easier to give into the feelings of loneliness that would suddenly engulf her as she watched the family across the road.  Lucy sat down on the chair and lifted the curtain a little more as she saw the young family laughing and chatting as they gathered round the Christmas table.  The young ones were climbing onto their seats and Jane had the baby attached to her hip as usual while she stood stirring the pot on the oven hob.  Michael came into the room and took the baby from her and sat him in his highchair.  Together Michael and Jane brought the food to the table.  The next bit was Lucy’s favourite bit to watch.  There they all were a whole family around one table all laughing and joking, serving up food, eating and then after pudding pulling Christmas crackers to much hilarity.  Oh look at the mess thought Lucy smiling.  What she wouldn’t give to have such a mess in her tidy home.

Lucy remembered when her girls were little how noisy and busy the house always was.  Three girls they had been blessed with.  William would pretend to run away and hide saying he was always totally outnumbered and outvoted on every decision made.  It was always said with a smile, he adored his daughters.  Their table had been chaos at meal times.  Lucy remembered how hot and bothered she got at mealtimes and how she would tell everyone that’s how she got to stay so slim.  Somehow by the time she cajoled the girls into eating and managed to keep some sort of calm at the table she never managed to finish a meal herself.  Nobody, least of all Lucy, could believe that she would have triplets.  There was no multiple births on either side of the families.  We got to be the lucky ones William told Lucy when they first found out.  I can see the sweat beads and the fear in your eyes Lucy told him laughing.  It had been chaos then suddenly they were grown up and Lucy couldn’t understand how it had happened so quickly.

It was the year the girls were three that had been the most special for Lucy.  That year the girls really seemed to understand what Christmas was all about.  Handmade Christmas baubles brought home from Nursery were hung on the tree and the noise and excitement was a joy to behold.  The girls wanted to help dress the Christmas table that year.  Somehow it took twice as long, Lucy remembered.  Are they helping or hindering, William had said laughing.  The table was a complete mess, plates all in the wrong place, tinsel draped across the tablecloth which was now crumpled and half hanging off the table.  There was a sparkle of excitement in the girl’s eyes and Lucy told them it was the most beautiful Christmas table she had ever seen in her life and she gave the girls a round of applause as William scooped them up in his arms telling them once again how clever and wonderful they were.

As the girls grew up they became closer and closer to each other.  Lucy waited for the time when they would grow apart and go their own ways but it never happened.  When they were teenagers Lucy worried about them wanting their own rooms.  Instead they asked if a wall could be knocked down to make one huge bedroom that they could all share.  They each had their own corner and each part of the room was decorated differently yet they were still together.  Lucy remembered smiling one evening when she went into their room.  Linda was lying reading with headphones on, Marian was lying with her eyes closed, foot tapping listening to music and Josephine was on the computer also with headphones on.  In their own little worlds yet now and again catching each other’s eyes and smiling.  Lucy thought, not for the first time, how completely and utterly blessed she had been.  Of course, later that evening they all came stomping down the stairs, all hungry at the same time and Lucy had hurried into the kitchen.  Only 15 minutes later there they all were around the table chatting about their day and Lucy simply watched and listened.  What will happen when they grow up and want different things Lucy wondered?  Will they stay as close as they are now she worried?  Oh I hope so she whispered to herself.

The girls grew up and Marian was the first to fall in love with a boy called Nathan.  Lucy and William were thrilled to find out what a lovely boy he was.  He was fun, caring, respectful, everything they had wished for, except for one thing.  He was Canadian and only here for two years until he gained the work experience he needed to return home.  Lucy waited knowing what was going to happen and praying even harder it wouldn’t.   Marian and Nathan were in love and Canada was going to be an incredible adventure for them.  The wedding was absolutely wonderful and Lucy thought her knees were going to buckle as Marian walked down the aisle on William’s arm looking so very beautiful with Linda and Josephine behind her, both of them crying, their pretty little bouquets shaking. There were many tears that day but much laughter too as William stood and told the guests stories of Marian as a little girl and welcomed the Canadian side of the family.  Lucy smiled through it all feeling as though her heart was being ripped out.  She found it hard to imagine how it would feel with that empty space at the table.  This is only the beginning she thought.

As they all set the Christmas table that year, Linda and Josephine insisted on setting a place for Marian and stuck a photograph of her to the chair she always sat in.  The laptop was on Marion’s plate.  What on earth?  Lucy had said.  Wait and see mum the girls told her.  Skype it was called apparently, whatever that was.  Marion called just before lunch and the potatoes almost got burned as everyone forgot about the oven they were so excited to see Marian on the screen.  It’s just like you are actually here Linda and Josephine said.  Lucy’s heart missed a beat.  It’s nothing like it at all she thought as she looked at Marion’s face.  All she wanted to do in that moment was put her arms around her daughter on Christmas Day and tell her how much she loved her.  She said nothing, of course, nobody knew how she felt.  Except William maybe who placed his hand on Lucy’s shoulder.  Lucy shrugged it off quickly in case she cried.  I’m fine she said smiling.   I have a Christmas surprise for you all Marion said beaming from ear to ear.  Now watch the screen she said and began to walk slowly backwards.  There was a silence as they gathered nearer the laptop bending forward to make sure they could see.  Suddenly they realised what they were looking at when Marion turned sideways.  A tiny little bump.  There were shrieks and screams you could hear all the way down the street that day as the girls jumped up and down around the room unable to contain their excitement then they all burst into tears together.  Strangely enough, it was a quiet Christmas day after that and the girls found it hard to contain the pain of not being all together.  A grandma, Lucy said quietly to William and I am not there to see it.  We will go to Canada he said, all of us.  I promise.

William kept his promise and June found the whole family travelling to Canada to see Marian, Nathan and their baby daughter Olivia Lucille.  Well we had to name the first granddaughter after you mum, they told her.  Lucy wondered how on earth she still found tears to cry.  Honestly it seemed to be all she did at the moment.  The scene at the airport when they all arrived was one many people watched as the girls threw themselves into each other’s arms only becoming quiet when they looked over and saw Nathan with the tiny bundle.  They ooohed and aaaahed before finally Nathan walked over and placed Olivia Lucille  in her grandmother’s arms.  Lucy found herself unable to speak.  The next three weeks flew over and the scene at the airport when they were leaving was a very different one to the arrival.  Quiet and sombre.  Many, many tears.

Josephine and Linda had loved Canada and Lucy waited knowing what was to come.  When it happened though it still registered as a shock.  The girls had always been together and it was too hard to be apart.  They wanted to be round each other and loved the life in Canada.  So many opportunities mum they told her.  Lucy had never been braver in her life.  She hugged them and said they must do whatever was right for them.  Go ahead and live the dream darlings she told them.  Have the life most people only dream of she said hugging them.   William held her in his arms that night but Lucy didn’t and couldn’t cry.  She was completely numb.  There was Skype remember the girls told her, we can keep in touch daily and Lucy would have to be content with that she supposed.

The day the girls left for Canada they all sat around the table chatting excitedly and Lucy managed to hide the pain.   They were all in the car ready to leave when the girls remembered one thing they had left behind and hurried back into the house.  I think they want a moment before they leave said William to Lucy.

On the way home from the airport, William and Lucy never spoke, such was their pain.  Lucy paused for a moment at the door before placing her key in the lock dreading the silence that would greet them.  Cup of tea she said to William but he had already reached for the whisky bottle.  I think we deserve one my darling, he said and handed her the glass.  After another two glasses of the hard stuff, as William called it, Lucy said she thought they needed a cup of tea.  Feeling sad but a little cheered she walked into the kitchen and saw the table.  Her knees buckled and she cried out.  William came running through and then he too saw it.  On each of the three chairs there was a picture of their girls and a letter to mum and dad with many words of love and thanks for the incredibly wonderful parents they were and had always been.  William and Lucy sat all night at the table not wanting to leave it, reading the girls letters over and over again until they knew the words by heart.  Goodnight girls she said as she kissed each of their photographs and went to bed.

Seven grandchildren there were now.  Marian had three girls, Josephine and Linda had two boys each.  The children were all close to each other and it sounded like the perfect life.  Lucy and William spent as much time as they could in Canada and spoke almost every day on Skype.  Eventually at some point the pain had eased and planning each trip back to Canada helped.

There were so many of them now in Canada it was always easier for Lucy and William to go there but today the girls were coming home.  Just the three of them without their families as it was not a happy occasion.  Today the girls were returning home to say goodbye to their father and support their mum. Lucy was numb once more and the tears had not yet surfaced.  Lucy remembered very little of the service only aware of the girls holding her up and whispering comforting words through their tears.  The girls stayed for a whole week but Lucy insisted on them returning to their families.  Come with us mum they all pleaded but the pain was too raw.  All Lucy wanted to do was be in her own home surrounded by all her memories.  Together they all put a photograph of dad on his chair at the table and the girls broke down, once more pleading with mum to go home with them.  Home thought Lucy.  They think as Canada of home.  Well she supposed it was now and she would simply have to get on with it.   The next morning when she knew the girls were safely back in Canada, she would not call it home, she made herself a cup of tea and gave herself a good strong talking to. I have three healthy daughters living a wonderful, happy life.  Seven grandchildren I adore and who I get to hug next time I visit.  William left me financially sound so I can travel to Canada as much as I like and I am healthy.  Come on girl get a grip there’s much to be grateful for.  Lucy left the dining room refusing to look at the pictures on the chairs.  It was simply too much.  Photographs would never make up for actual people.

It was Christmas once more and Lucy was alone.  The first two years after losing William, she had set the Christmas table as usual and decorated the Christmas tree with the baubles the girls brought home from Nursery all those years ago.  This year Lucy had decided not to bother.  She got half way through decorating the tree and struggled to finish it.  It seemed so utterly pointless.  She was loved, had a large family, yet she was alone, how did that happen?  Her family loved, cherished and adored her yet she was sad and beyond lonely.  There was that awful feeling in the pit of her stomach that said you’re not needed anymore and Lucy wanted so desperately to be needed.    The girls had invited her to come and stay with them but she had been poorly lately and needed regular medication.  There was a hospital appointment just before Christmas that she had waited months for and to be honest she was not sure she was up to the journey alone.  Should I try to change the appointment, am I up to travelling?  The thoughts when round and round her head then just to make matters worse when she was wondering whether after all she should go she sprained her ankle. Well that’s that then she said feeling angry, defeated and just a little sorry for herself, I’m not meant to go.

Lucy lifted the nets again and watched Jane setting the table with Michael for Christmas dinner.  They had certainly gone to town this year she thought, there were at least three tables that stretched all the way through the lounge diner and goodness knows how many seats.  Jane had told her all the family were coming to her house this year. They were putting the crackers on the table now and it looked wonderfully festive.  Lucy dropped the nets when she thought she saw Jane looking over.  They will be thinking I’m such a nosy parker Lucy thought embarrassed.  Lucy was very fond of Jane, Michael and the children.  They popped in regularly and Lucy always made sure she had a treat for the little ones.  The fridge was stocked with ice lollies and their favourite juice.  They all loved Aunty Lucy.

Lucy walked over to the oven where she had forced herself to make a proper Christmas dinner. No matter what the girls said about her coming to live with them in Canada Lucy knew they were just being kind.  After all no matter how close they were, the girls should have a life of their own and Lucy would not be a burden.  The girls would have a wonderful family Christmas and she would see them soon.  That’s just how it should be.  She placed her dinner on the tray and refused to look at the empty table and the photographs as she passed.  Christmas day, alone with a tray on her knee by the fire she thought.  As she slowly ate her tears dropped one by one into the gravy as the pain of loneliness engulfed her.

Lucy jumped when there was a knock at the door.  Who on earth can that be she thought?  It could only be Jane.  Lucy was highly embarrassed at the thought of being caught looking through her curtains.  Yesterday Jane had turned up just as she was taking the photographs off the chairs in a fit of self-pity.   Honestly, where is my head, Lucy thought, not being able to even remember where she had put the photographs?  Not that she was going to put them back up when she found them.  It was too ridiculous.  Its people you needed on chairs not photographs she said angrily.

The knocking persisted and Lucy thought she would have to face it and answer the door.  Jane felt sorry for her she knew that but Lucy wanted no part of anyone’s sympathy today.   She wanted to be left alone with her thoughts and memories, then tonight they would all get together on Skype and Lucy would put on her happy face.  The table was going to be sold after Christmas.  Move on she told herself ignoring the knocking at the door which to be honest seemed to be getting quite frantic.  Lucy sighed and placed her tray on the floor and went to answer the door.

Goodness said Jane, I was getting worried about you.  I know it’s an imposition but I have so many people coming today and Michael as usual is being useless in the kitchen, please come and give me a hand with the children Lucy.  I know you said you didn’t want to come over today but I’m passed desperate for help.  Lucy smiled.  Give me a minute to grab my keys and handbag she said.  Together they crossed the road Jane chatting non-stop and Lucy praying with all her heart for this day to be over as quickly as possible.

Jane and Lucy walked into the dining room and Lucy wondered what on earth it could be that needed still doing then suddenly she noticed them.  The photographs.   Lucy had no idea what to say and was unable to speak anyway.  Why on earth did Jane have her chair photographs?  There was a movement behind her and Lucy’s heart jumped as Marian walked into the room and took the picture from the chair, threw it across the room laughing and took her place at the table.  Then followed Josephine and Linda who both did the same.  Still Lucy was rooted to the spot hardly able to breath when suddenly all the children came running into the room screaming “Grandma” fighting to be picked up and Lucy went down on her knees and began hugging them.  Happy Christmas mum the girls all chorused at once.

It was the most incredible Christmas day and extremely noisy just as it should be.  Oh William, the whole family around the table she whispered.  It was the greatest gift she could possibly have received.

Six months later Lucy stood once more looking through her window which no longer had any nets hanging there.  The house was empty except for the table and chairs in the dining room.  The family that were moving in here loved it and asked if they could keep it.  Oh yes, Lucy had told them, it is a table built for families after all.

Lucy checked her bag again for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.  All her suitcases were packed.  The girls had refused to take no for an answer at Christmas and she was going out to Canada to live with them.  They had seen to all the paperwork and had been back and forwards to England sorting it all out.   The girls all lived near to each other but Marian had the largest house and her husband had built an annex for her.  She would see her girls and grandchildren every single day yet they would still all have their independence.

There was a knock at the door, the taxi was here.  Lucy patted her handbag with the photograph of William inside.  “Come along” she said. “Didn’t think I would leave you behind surely?  She turned and looked into the dining room for the last time.

“Goodbye table.  Be happy” she whispered.

God Bless you all on your run up to Christmas.  

For more stories please visit suzannelambert.com

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Man

helping-hands

I would like to share a story with you from some years ago that still warms my heart and makes me smile.  So often I hear stories of unkindness, help someone who ignores and never thanks me and it’s hard to remember that out there in our world there are people who every day carry out random acts of kindness that we never hear about.  When I feel saddened by the world I like to remember this little story.  I hope you enjoy it.

Designer Man

The New Year festivities were over, the last of the turkey (thank Heaven) had finally been eaten and I looked out of the window desperate to be out and about again.  It was a freezing cold morning and the country had suffered with heavy snowfall for days making the roads in my area impossible, especially if, like me, you had a second hand rear wheel drive sports car.  My pride and joy though it was, snow and ice made every journey hazardous and difficult.

However, now that Christmas was over, I was having severe withdrawal symptoms from going to the gym, something I loved to do.  Somehow I had to rid myself of all that turkey!  Looking out of the window I decided it would be safe.  The gym wasn’t far from my home.

I called goodbye to mum and got out of the door before having to listen once more to her constant worries about me going out in bad weather, running after me trying to wrap a wool scarf round my neck, pushing blankets and hot water bottles on me in case I got stuck whilst in the background there was dad shouting instructions on how to drive into a skid.

I made my hasty exit and turned up the radio to hear all the weather warnings telling people to avoid travelling if necessary.  Well maybe it had been snowing and it was definitely freezing cold today but it was crisp and sunny and I was on my way to the gym only a 5 minute drive away.  All was well.

It was quiet at the gym today, many people still suffering from the festivities I thought to myself with a smile.  There is always the possibility that if I had looked outside the smile might have been swiftly wiped off my face.

I was feeling better now after a good workout.  I definitely deserved the Roast Dinner mum was making later.  I almost skipped to the door of the car park and opened it.  Stunned silence.   How and when in God’s name did that happen, I called out loud to anyone who could hear.  The snow storm was in full swing and I could hardly see the car park let alone my little car.  Only one thing for it, I counted to three and made a run for it through the blizzard until I found my car, pulled open the door and jumped inside.  I switched on the ignition set the wipers to full speed and looked around me.  This was not good and I began to feel a little worried.  There were only  two other cars in the car park.  Yes I said to myself because most sensible people would have stayed at home.  Oh mum, I thought, seeing the 10 missed calls on my phone.  I text to say I was absolutely fine and was about to leave for home  knowing she would be looking out of the window until I arrived safely.

I held my breath and prayed as I slowly began to inch the car forward.  I say inch because that is about as far as I got before the wheels began to spin.  Just at this point the last two remaining cars in the car park drove slowly passed me with a sympathetic look on their faces  and I realised I was the only one left.  What on earth was I going to do?  I got out and started to push which made no difference whatsoever.  By this time I was frightened, soaking wet, freezing cold and totally disheartened then suddenly I heard a car engine.  It was a brand new top of the range BMW.  Well they aren’t going to stop to help me in their big black posh car, I said judgmentally.  How wrong was I?  The man opened his window and called to me asking if I would like some help.  There was a lady in the car and a couple of children in car seats but I was a little unsure all the same.  Regardless of my lack of enthusiasm for the offer of help he got out of the car anyway. Wow, I thought, this man was definitely not dressed for the snow.  That had to be a designer suit and probably worth as much as my car.  He told me to get in the car, gave me instructions and started to push.  Nothing.  Just constantly spinning wheels going absolutely nowhere.  The lady and children were watching and smiling.  Who were these good people, who I am sure needed to get home just as much as I did.

OK, he said to me smiling, in his now very wet designer suit, new plan.  He walked over to the boot of his car.  He must have a spade I thought or some other marvellous device to get me out of this but I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Out of the big black boot was no spade or special grips just what looked like a shiny carrier bag.  When I say carrier bag …….. I mean one of those posh ones that contain only the best designer clothes, where the shop wraps everything in tissue.

He took out a jumper with a little YSL embroidered on the corner and a couple of T-shirts.  Surely not.  No, it couldn’t be!   I must have looked completely insane as I sat there my mouth gaping as I watched him begin to lay the clothes on the ground in front and behind my wheels.

Ok, he shouted through the snow storm, slowly move forward.  I put my foot on the accelerator and gently moved forward, I was moving it had worked.  Don’t stop he called, then, keep moving and waved me on.  I watched him in my rear mirror picking his clothes up off the ground as I drove away?

I have never forgotten him.  I will never knew who he was but he stopped to help a stranger not because he knew them or cared about them but simply out of kindness. I am still to this day blown away by his kindness to me.

I learned a very valuable lesson that day never to judge someone simply because of how they looked,  what they wore, or what they drove.  It brought tears to my eyes to know that there really are genuine people in the world today helping to spread goodwill and that day I had been honoured to meet one.

A Silent Kindness

Just come a little closer and listen for a while

Believe in all the best you can, the things that make you smile

In each and every corner of a Universe so vast

Exists a precious kindness from the present and the past

Appearing out of nowhere, when all else fails and then

A kindly soul steps in our life, one of our fellow men

Sometimes oh so quiet, they step into our day

Offer us a helping hand and then go on their way

Not because they know us or want a paid return

Just simply out of kindness, to maybe help us learn

In time of fear or sadness there’s goodness all around

There for all of us to see, if you just look around

I pray these words will heal your heart and raise your spirits too

May kindness come to you my friend in everything you do

Happy Wednesday everyone

Suzanne

 

There’s Fairies in my Garden

fairy-garden

There’s fairies in my garden, I see them every day

They dance around the flowers, when I come out to play

I love to see the sparkle on each tiny little wing

And if I listen carefully, I can almost hear them sing

They’re calling to me now, come play with us they say

They weave their magic round me, each and every day

They love to play with water and dance around the tree

They flutter round the fountain as they laugh and play with me

There’s mermaids in my garden, so pure and gentle too

Come swim with us they whisper, honestly it’s true

Their tails of many colours, sparkle in the night

I watch them from my bedroom, the garden full of light

There’s tiny little pixies, so naughty they can be

They steal the fairies wands and then they hide behind the tree

The pinch my toes and giggle, then run away and hide

I’ve chased but never caught them, no matter how I tried

At night when fairies slumber, birds no longer cheep

The mermaids sing their lullabies, to send me off to sleep

They’ve told me many stories, ones I’ve never read

About a world beyond us as I lay in my bed

They take me to a dreamland with clouds of every colour

A world that’s filled with magic where we all love each other

There’s fairies in my garden, there’s many mermaids too

There’s pixies and there’s magic, calling out to you

They’re telling me they’re everywhere, yes, in your garden too

It’s just you’ve not been looking, really, it’s true

Now as my body ages, no longer can I walk

Amongst the flowers and fairies, I cannot hear them talk

 

I listen for the mermaids, it saddens me to say

I cannot hear their pretty songs each and every day

The child in me was saddened, when it was said to me

There’s no such thing as fairies dancing round the tree

I believed them for so long ,ah but I’m old and wiser now

I’ve learned to listen to myself, I’ll tell you why and how

One day I felt so lonely, what more could I achieve

What happened to the magic?  Could I once more believe?

I closed my eyes and whispered, I know you’re there, I do

I’ve never quite forgotten, although I’m eighty two

How I needed them to be there, for the magic to return

So many years without them, I felt a desperate yearn

Around my painful body, I felt a gentle breeze

A rustling of leaves I heard, playing round the trees

My heart was racing wildly, my eyes were filled with tears

Would they still remember me?  After all these years

Looking out the window, I saw the fairies smile

Welcome back they sang to me, we’ve waited quite a while

The Mermaids leaped into the air, then splashed back down again

Singing loudly voices raised, easing all my pain

The pixies made me laugh out loud, pulling silly faces

Wanting me to dance with them and put me through my paces

I cried to them so happy now, please never ever leave

We’ve been here all along, they said, you just had to believe

There’s fairies in my garden, there’s many mermaids too

There’s pixies and there’s magic, calling out to you

Leave the stress of growing up, the pain of getting old

Having to be sensible, doing as you’re told

Escape into the freedom, where life is fun once more

No more tears and sadness, hurry out and shut the door

It’s fun here in my garden, each and every day

There’s magic and enchantment, do you want to come and play?