It is now four days since Christmas and the matter of thank you letters cannot be ignored.
“All children write thank you letters, and you are very lucky to have presents to be thankful for,” I say with authority, though I doubt this is true.
“But … I am two,” says NG, correctly.
“I will write them and you can sign,” I say, producing cards, envelopes, felt tips and glitter glue. On second thoughts, I shove the glitter glue back in the drawer.
“Now. Remember when we took those Christmas cards you did round the village?” It was pissing with rain but actually pretty good fun: one of those experiences you don’t expect to turn out well but when the splashing in puddles is hysterically giggly fun rather than shoot-yourself-in-the-head, and everyone gives your 2yo daughter a Christmas hug, well … golden memories are made. A lump forms in my throat.
“Oh. Well, never mind. Those people are our friends and some of them gave your presents, so we’re going to write to them to say ‘thank you’. We need five.”
“But I am two.”
NW looks at me pityingly.
“You do want to say ‘thank you’ to them, don’t you?”
NG looks around. “But they are not here.”
I spread five open cards out on the table and write the first bit in each, leaving a blank for the person’s name and my daughter’s at the end. I imagine a sweet scribble in each gap warming the neighbours’ hearts.
“Mummy, where’s the glitter glue?”
“These cards are special. They don’t need it.”
“But … Muhmaaaay?” NG starts flicking the cards onto the floor with the precision of an assembly line machine.
“Where’s the glitter glue?”
I glance at the laptop – open to a picture of ecstatic Norfolk school children looking at a ‘personal’ Christmas card from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton). Except it is typed. And not from the children at all. In fact, I bet Prince George and Charlotte haven’t even done their thank you cards yet. And they will have MILLIONS. I rally.
“Here,” I stop the stationery landslide by handing NG a red felt tip. “Write your name.” I point to the bottom of the card. “This is your one.”
“But I am two.”
“Next year, shall we try letters?” says NW, wickedly.
“But … I like numbers. Like two. I am two,” says NG, opening the glitter glue.
KEY TO CHARACTERS
Characters are abbreviated as follows:
NW – not William (husband and father)
NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and a half year old)
NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and four month old)
NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)