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The Small Things by Fiona Pretswell

Mum, mum can you hear me? All I can see is the top of your head and dad’s arm. Move the laptop. Bit more. That’s it.

Mum it is so nice to see you and dad. Where’s he gone? I know he hates these new-fangled things, but I thought he might stay on a bit longer today of all days. Did you get your presents alright? The delivery was set for yesterday. That’s good. I hope you like it. Don’t let Dad open all the bottles at once. You know what he’s like.

Thanks for the Christmas card. It made Frank and I howl with laughter. Why? No, it wasn’t that you had left the price on. Miraculously, you took it off this time. No, it was the card. ‘Merry Christmas to my daughter and my lovely daughter in law.’ Very progress of you but Frank really doesn’t want a sex change for Christmas. Stop worrying. We knew it was a mistake. Mum it was funny. You don’t need to explain. I wasn’t going to mention it to you, but we were opening out presents this morning before we left for work and that just made us laugh even more. A salmon pink and pale blue t-shirt for Frank, which he loves by the way, but you had wrapped in a DL Ladies Fashion Store carrier bag. Frank was in hysterics. It was a wonderful start to the day. Sometimes I just need to laugh.

So, tell me about what you have been doing? Still taking Millie for walks around the green. I bet she is the fittest dog in the village the amount of walks she gets. What happened to her? Never. Okay, let me get this straight, the new couple at number 31 have a labradoodle and it actually peed on Mille. And she had her new Fortum and Mason coat on. Oh Mum, I can just see your face.

How’s Dad?    He has taken up doing jigsaws. Wow. Would never have seen that one coming.  Good for him and it will keep him out of your hair. I really wish we could visit and see him surrounded by 1000 pieces with bits of kittens on them but I’m not taking the risk. I see the effects of the risks people take and it isn’t pretty.  

How are Mark, Emily and the twins? Can’t believe they will be five soon. It is ages since I’ve seen them. Please tell me they haven’t set fire to any more things. Mum, what do you mean you didn’t hear about that? Auntie Jane told me. Maybe she was too embarrassed to let you know what one of her precious grandchildren had done. Well.  Seeming Jacob, the red haired one that’s right. I think they had been watching a programme about firemen and he found some matches. No, I don’t know where he got them from. It doesn’t matter. Anyway, he set fire the couch. I know. Yes. They are all fine. It was months ago now. And guess what, when Emily asked him why he did it. He said to see a real fire engine at the house. Can you believe it?

Mum, please don’t start. I know you want a grandchild too and I know that I am getting on a bit. Thank you for the weekly reminder. But Frank and I have discussed it. We are not going to start a family in the middle of a pandemic.  I know there are lots of lockdown babies due, but we are too busy.  Life didn’t get put on hold for either of us.  It wouldn’t be fair on anybody and no you couldn’t help with childcare. You live too far away. Can we just drop this subject? Please.

Work has been okay. We now have four consultants in ICU.  We fixed our shifts to make it easier to plan ahead. Two long days, a day off then four nights and two days off. Today was my first long day. It was a good shift. We didn’t lose anybody, and I managed to discharge two patients, with only one admission.  I had time to catch up on the smaller jobs that need doing and we managed the video calls with relatives. So yes. It was a good day.

Mum, I’m going to have to go. It’s late and I need to eat at least one piece of Christmas cake to make it feel like Christmas Day. Tell Dad that I love him. And Mum, thanks for talking to me about the small things. It really does make a difference. Call you again soon. Love you.

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