It was a harried email from The Mom that I had recently, that reminded me she is still very much a kid at heart. Well, not even just at heart, but really for all intents and purposes.
It was one of those emails she and I trade in order to make the ocean that separates us feel a bit smaller. A round up of the day’s activities. Went out, something annoying happened, came home, ate some food, had a nap, tried to deal with the annoying thing, gave up, called it a day. The sort of emails that are a shorthand for saying, I thought of you today when the world tried to thwart me.
This particular email detailed The Mom’s recent adventure to a shop called Michael’s that I used to enjoy wandering around when I lived at home. It’s a massive craft store, full of strange bits and pieces, shiny things that come in little packets and small, fiddly plastic bags.
The Mom had, accordingly to her email, gone out in search of more felt. The message went something like this: Can’t believe I don’t have enough supplies to make a new stocking! Woe betide! What will people think? I cannot have guests to this house for Christmas and not have a proper stocking. They won’t feel like family!
Now, what you have to picture is this: a tiny, bird-like woman in a brightly-coloured jacket, gets into her massive SUV type car thing, drives through construction and traffic with no rhyme or reason to it, calls a series of other drivers stupid idiots (the height of bad names), doesn’t find a parking spot nearest the shop door, circles for five to ten minutes, ignoring the other parking spots, finally settles on something closer to the door but not as close as she’d like, and then finally goes in to the shop. In the shop, scours the aisles looking for felt. Once found, she’ll endure the queue, only just, return home and then get to work.
Time was, The Mom had a glue-gun which was one of her favourite household tools, second only to her trusty butter knife. The glue-gun was called upon to fix anything the butter knife could not, or had broken. She’ll be sat at the kitchen table, the felt covering the pile of newspapers and other things she’s not got around to reading yet, and she’ll then start cutting with the one pair of scissors we have that don’t cut anything. We’re not keen on sharp objects, as they lead to problems the glue-gun can’t solve. Within minutes she’ll have felt stuck to her fingers, her shirt, and be cursing and laughing like a fool.
This email she sent, detailing her crafting afternoon, struck me as particularly funny, most of all because we’re all in our thirties or in my case, forties. I’m usually the one who expects to be treated like a child – which I encourage by acting like a child as frequently as possible – the others try to pretend they’re adults. Which is no fun at all. But there was something touching and hilarious about The Mom beavering away at her stocking project. She’ll have done all manner of shopping and cleaning and cooking in advance of our visits, but it’s the stocking that tickles me the most. Because it’s the little touches like this, the sweetnesses, that make home and Christmas special and right.