This post was originally written in 2017 for an old and now retired blog.
On the evening of the 24th of December 2004 we were living in a rural Victorian end-of-terrace cottage with a 17 month old daughter, a 5 month old cat, and a daughter who was just overdue.
We had our first proper tree, bare except for tiny, twinkling lights; a kitchen that had seen me bake my first ever Christmas cake and roast my first chestnuts; and Simon had artfully twisted armfuls of holly, ivy and mistletoe around the house.
The fire embers were glowing, the candles were pooling and Maya was peacefully sleeping in her new big-girl bed. In the chimney-breast alcove in our bedroom, watched by Poppy, our fierce and feisty fluffball of tuxedo kitten (who, despite our best efforts insisted on sleeping on our bed from the day we bought her home) we made a small pile of Maya’s presents and topped it with her first ever stocking.
We sat back, exhausted but happy; and as I rubbed my huge, pregnant belly. Poppy briefly left the room only to return with one tiny sock of Maya’s which she solemnly placed on top of the present pile before settling to sleep on our bed.
p.s. the featured photo is not in fact Poppy, none of my many, many photos of her are high resolution enough.