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Picture this scenario:

Caroline and her husband Ben have two little girls, aged 10 and 8, called Matilda, and Emily.

Caroline has an older sister called Janet, who has two sons, Tom, aged 21, and Terry, aged 17.

Four years ago, when Matilda was just six, her and Emily were having a sleep-over at Janet’s house.

In the middle of the night, Terry, who was then 13 years old, went into six year old Matilda’s bedroom, and sexually abused her.

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Today was the second day of a marathon shopping spree. I hate Christmas shopping. You spend shitloads of money on other people’s kids, and get crappy presents back from their parents. Oh I miss my early twenties when none of my friends had children, and I only had to worry about buying them one present each. Just call me Ebenezer Scrooge. *g*

Anyway, I’m digressing, as usual…

Today was a particularly cold day in my town, and I do so hate the cold, so I bobbed into a Greggs to get a cheese and onion pastie, and a bottle of water. I left the shop, and proceeded to walk pass a homeless guy begging for money on the pavement (sidewalk to you Americans). As I usually do when I see homeless people, I totally ignored him and carried on walking.

In my head I was bitching about how crappy the English weather is, when something made me stop walking.

I suddenlly realised how totally ungrateful I was, because, yes, I was cold, but I had a nice warm home to go to. A lot of people weren’t so lucky.

Anyway, I walked back to the homeless man and offered him my cheese and onion pastie, which he gratefully took from me.

It was such a small thing, but it seemed to mean an awful lot to him, and at that moment, I had a kind of epiphany (for want of a better word).

I have a really good life. I have a wonderful family who I love, and who love me, and I know that if I was ever in trouble, they’d always be there for me. I’m one of the lucky ones, so I should really take the time to appreciate that.

I don’t really do New Year resolutions, because I think they’re mostly pointless, but this year, my resolution will be to really appreciate what I have, and to open my eyes a bit more, and actually see those people who are less fortunate than myself, rather than being overly preoccupied with my own quite selfish thoughts.

And maybe once in a while, I can do something that takes very little effort from me, but means the world to them.

Merry Christmas everybody, and I hope that you and your families all have a prosperous New Year.

I’ll be back when the Christmas hoopla stops kicking my arse.