Wooden Boxes and Hugs

It could have been terrible. Things could really have turned bad. But they didn’t, thankfully, and this evening I am going to bed with a blissful smile on my face as I can through the bedroom door hear B play FIFA 15 with his two sons and the three of them laughing, bantering and generally joshing. Some time ago, I wrote an ill advised article where I referred to B’s ex-wife as ‘Witchface’ and unfortunately it ended up in front of her. Needless to say, it caused some upset and I apologised profusely to B’s eldest (although the article was meant to be funny and take the mickey out of the first wife vs second wife situation, understandably it didn’t go down too well). Luckily, I got to put my perspective of the unfortunate series of events across, and instead of wrecking what could have been a fragile relationship, we now seem to be in a really good place.

We celebrated Christmas early this evening, giving B’s two sons their Christmas presents and also the ones we’d got for each other. Christmas 2014, even though it’s not quite Christmas yet, I have already received what are the two best presents I’ve ever had: a wooden box and a hug.

The wooden box is from B. It’s a box to keep photos and keepsakes in, and it has terms special to us carved out in its fragile cover – Annie’s, Falla, All Blacks, 547c and Dee Dee are all there, to name a few. It’s the most precious thing and it brought tears to my eyes (although I hid it quite well I think). B’s amazing with gifts and to date I have received endless presents where so much thought and love has gone into them, but this I think has to be the best one yet.

As his sons arrived, B went outside to greet them, and I stood (somewhat awkwardly, it has to be said) at the top of the stairs. I never wanted to impose myself on them – still don’t – so despite the fact that I think the world of them and am so happy to see them each time I do and want to hug them every time, I have always been determined to follow their lead so I just smiled and said hello.

His eldest came up the stairs first, and gave me that hug that along with that wooden box is the best Christmas present I’ve had. It meant the world to me and I had to really stop myself from squeezing this lovely 21-yearold (22 in just eight days) silly. The younger one sauntered in after his brother and gave me his usual little smile and said hello. I hope some time in the future I get to hug him too. If there’s one thing I envy my B’s ex, it’s that she gets to hug these lads loads. I’ll hand it to her – she’s raised them well, they’re both really great kids. I’m sure B had a hand in it too, but I’d like to think it’s us mothers who are due credit when sons turn out well. (If Monkey ends up in prison, it’ll be his father’s fault – OBVIOUSLY).

And then we exchanged gifts. B gave them some money and had also got them these huge drones (I mean seriously huge – two foot in diameter at least, they’re MASSIVE!) that they subsequently tried to fly indoors (only one beer knocked over though, surprisingly) and together we’d got them some joke presents and shot glasses. I have said it so many times, but it really does fill me with such joy to see him around these two boys – he really does light up, it’s as if someone’s suddenly sprinkled fairy dust all over him. B sparkles any day of the week, but seeing him around his sons is nothing short of spectacularly special.

Once we were a few presents in, his eldest hands me a bottle of wine they’d got for ME! For MEEEEE! Again, I melted and probably grinned like a goddamn fool. A hug AND wine. This kid has me firmly in his fanclub, let me tell ya.

I told them Monkey finds me and B more embarrassing than his dad and stepmum, “because you guys smooch all the time”. When B was getting some pasta from the corner shop, we got talking about his oldest son’s girlfriend and I challenged them on who would be the most embarrassing to introduce her to: B or their mum (B’s ex-wife). The younger reckoned their mum (“she’ll be over the top lovely and start talking about dogs”) and the older and I went with B (“he’ll ask really cringy questions”). The little buggers immediately stitched me up the moment B came back and informed him that, oh yes, “Anna said you must be worse”.

So it’s with a contented smile that my head hits the pillow this evening. A wooden box and a hug – what more could I ever, EVER wish for?

19 Dec 2014 pic


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