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You will always be the light that colours my jar

Written 10th January 2016

So James. Here's a story.
Picture the scene. A hotel, nestled in the Derbyshire Dales, crammed to the rafters....literally.....with mums and dads of angels. Your mum, as you would expect, has bonded with the smokers and is standing outside with a black coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I hear the words....."Maria, don't forget to collect your jam jar before you leave" Now there's a sentence about as inapplicable to your ma as you could have imagined. I can just hear you saying...."wait what? Mum, what did that lady just say to you? What jam jar? Explain!"
So, confession time. I'm just going to put this out there and see what you think. I decorated a jam jar. "Why?" I hear you exclaim in angelic disbelief. "Why mum?"

Well son, to begin with, I wasn't altogether sure myself but I know that I enjoyed it.

When I arrived at the hotel I looked for the obvious. The dining room, the coffee lounge and the bar. The craft room was pointed out but I smiled politely and discounted the relevance of that room for me.
On the morning of the second day, I wandered in there and saw the other mums at work. Lots of jars, lots of glue, lots of glitter and lots of smiles. Suddenly I was transported to my first year at primary school. A little girl in her school uniform the teacher saying, "and don't forget to take your jars home today boys and girls". Soon my mind wondered to the time I picked you up from school and you were clutching a jar with some half stuck pieces of coloured foil paper and bits of glitter..."I made this for you mummy" "it's beautiful son“ I lied. “I will treasure it always".
My thoughts returned to the room I was standing in. Lots of glitter and glue and all manner of fascinating decorative fun. All that was missing was the children. So many missing children. I sat down and picked up a jar. Before I knew it, the word "James" was carefully formed on this jar. Then I thought about the wire handle. "How on earth am I going to achieve that?" I exclaimed! "I don't do craft....." So another mummy showed me how she made hers and together we made mine. Then that mummy was called away from the table and I continued with my project and operation glitter begun.
"Look" says another mum, "Maria has worked out how to make the handle" "I had help" I replied. "Can you help me?" Asked the other mummy. (I hope that you can see where I'm going with this now James)......
So I helped the other mummy make her handle and together we achieved something that we wouldn't have been able to do alone. Then another mummy sat next to me.
"Can you help me with mine, please" "I'd be happy to" I replied and I took her jar and she chose the colour of wire and soon she also had a handle on her jar.
Pretty soon, we were chatting about you all. "Can someone pass the blue glitter please, Blue was his favourite colour.......Has anyone got those sticky on butterflies? My daughter loved butterflies......does anyone know how these stamps work? Who's got the glue? Where are the scissors.....? What would our children be saying now......let me tell you about that time......" and so on.
Soon another mummy came. She's very new to all this. Her hands were trembling and she didn't know what to do or where to begin. "We'll help you" we all said. "What is your daughter's name, what was her favourite colour? Would you like glitter or paint?" And we helped her and her hands stopped trembling and although she couldn't see it when she sat down, soon she had a beautiful jar with her little girl's name on it......and a handle made by yours truly.
And all the time we were fashioning our creations we were discovering things about our children and talking about what you all liked and disliked. Your personalities and how you would all split your sides laughing if you could see what we were doing.
I spoke of days when little you and I would attempt to be creative. How we used to cover the dining table with that plastic table cloth and get the glue and glitter out. We got more glitter stuck to that table cloth and in our hair than on anything worth showing off. Except for the time when you stuck the Haribo heart on a piece of paper and wrote on it "I love my mummy this much" I know that you know that I still have that piece of paper, yellowing and so, so precious.
So Son, I made my jar and I made a heart and a butterfly and got so engrossed at that craft table that I was there all afternoon.
That evening, our jars complete, we put candles in them and lit them for all of you. Our jars and their lights inside. The objects that started life as plain and bland, unimaginative and relatively sad, were transformed into pretty little ornaments, colourful and sparkly, all bearing a different name. We cried as we lit them, we smiled as we looked at them. We were proud. Proud of you, proud of ourselves and proud of our little creations.
So, "I made this for you Jamie, to say thank you for the jar that you gave to me" Remember that you will always be the light that colours my jar.

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