I realise I've been a bit quiet here lately.
More than a bit quiet, I've been positively absent.
There's been Stuff Going On. Some of it's Family Stuff that I can't yet find the words to express, but keep thinking I'll write about. And then I don't manage to find more than the odd half sentence drifting through my mind in the shower, so never quite get round to writing anything. And since that's the next thing on my internal list to write about, and I am nothing if not list-bound, instead nothing gets written about anything.
So I'm forcing myself to abandon the list in my head and instead I'm going to make a minor digression of praise about some of the wonderful new friends I've made in the last few years. None of my "old" friends should take offense at this - you've all been my rocks and comfort for so long I'm not sure I could begin to find ways to thank you for all you've ever done and been for me. No, this isn't about you, this is about the random acts of kindness that I have been subject to of late.
Many of the budding new friendships I have are courtesy of C, who took pity on my self absorbed meanderings and instituted the monthly Pub Night in the village for mothers of small children to get together and bleat. It's not only been a great arena for bleating, but a good way to actually get to know people, instead of exchanging half sentences before our respective children demand attention. C has a quiet and understated ability to help and soothe. Thank you C.
Among those I've befriended (or who have befriended me, depending on how you see these things) is T, who is the saint who re-inserted LittleBear's tooth when he smashed his face into the pavement, and who counselled me with handy tips to identify shock afterwards. She also arranged to have his bicycle removed from the scene of the accident and then brought it to our house herself later that evening. And she leapt out of a cafe as a bloody and battered small boy and his fraught mother stumbled back to the car from the dentist and shepherded us in so that we could get cleaned up and calmed down.
It's also T who made sure LittleBear knew he could come early to T's daughter's birthday party so he wouldn't be overwhelmed by too may children and too much noise. And he loved the party. Thank you T.
Then there's L, who, without batting an eyelid, offered to take LittleBear after school if I needed to stay at work. In the end I didn't, but we did go round to L's house for a play date on the recent teacher training day and somehow ended up having the odd glass of Prosecco that afternoon. Friends who ply me with bubbly are friends I need. Thank you L.
And there's L2, who took pity on my bleating about LittleBear being sick and missing the school book sale that he'd been saving money for. She took advice on LittleBear's likes and dislikes and purchased a book on his behalf and delivered it to the house this afternoon, to the great joy of NotSickAnyMoreBear. Thank you L2.
There's also H, who nobly allowed herself to be chased by LittleBear around the lawn outside the church when I refused because I'd been wearing stupid court shoes to work all day and my feet were killing me. Admittedly her two small people joined the chase too, and most of the time it's muggins here being chased, but H saw the tears welling in LittleBear's eyes and stepped into the breach, despite her aversion to the running games I find myself playing with small people. Thank you H.
Never forgetting H2, who is always, always there with an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Never mind how bad her own day has been, she always manages to offer support and empathy. And amusing text messages. And offers of wine. When I didn't know if I could manage to get LittleBear to school without the use of the Breakfast Club that he hated, H2 and C both immediately offered to shepherd him there any time I needed help. Thank you H2.
And, naturally, there are all the people who listen to me ranting at the pub once a month and don't tell me to shut up. And I've realised the trouble with this catalogue is the terrible fear that I may have missed somebody out. If I have forgotten an act of kindness or a demonstration of true friendship, then I shall blame the glass of gin by my side, and the lack of sleep in my life. I appreciate and treasure all the new friends who have come into my world since having LittleBear. My life is immeasurably improved by knowing you all.
Merry Christmas one and all.