I am full of love and good cheer this afternoon. I went over to Balbriggan Library to do a story-telling session with the lovely children of North County Dublin where I was warmly welcomed by the lovely Assumpta Hickey and her staff . The library was beautifully decorated - complete with tree, lights and sparkly things. An imitation fireplace was in place with a certain gentleman’s red trousered legs protruding from the chimney.
Of course as soon as Queenie landed to the smiles of the children nothing would do her but to peer up the chimney and have a shouted one sided conversation with the great Santa Claus. We entered into storytime with my personal favourite ‘Baby Owls’ by Martin Waddell, then rambled through ‘Stickman’ and ‘Adam saves Christmas’. Then we had a little break and a chat about Santa and what he might bring. One little chap informed me he had THREE Christmas trees and a little princess wanted to know could she wear her dressing-up costume next time she came. We discussed Christmas gifts and how many hugs and kisses one should give ones parents to ensure their sound mental. We discussed the importance of being nice to one another. All nice schmaltzy stuff.
I finished off the Christmas session with (natch) The Night Before Christmas’ – more for the parents than the children - the language, though beautiful, is archaic and many of the terms would mean nothing to today’s smallies. Then I distributed Story Queen stickers and placed my crown on each little head in order to transfer a very special Story Queen dream into each mind for tonight’s bedtime. The children escorted me to the steps and I made a gracious hand waving exit. They loved me. I loved them.
So home I came full of good cheer and heart bursting with love of mankind, realising that the saying God is Love is really the wrong way around. Love IS god. And the trusting simple love of little kids is the purest love of all. Nothing can beat the delight we get in giving pleasure, time and assistance to our fellow beings, particularly the children in our lives. It is what differentiates us from animals and brings us closer to the sublime. Home, family and contentment are what we all strive for. It is not always attainable, it has to be worked at and sometimes it fails – but try we must.
Here endeth the lesson. Now, where did I put my Santy hat………