It had been a really tough day, the kind of day that whatever’s happening on the outside, inside you’re grey and blue and not up for much of anything.
It was also the day I was to look after my wee 6 year old niece.
She’s adorable but when you’re having a lousy day, looking after your wee niece isn’t top of your list of ‘things I’d like to do’…no offence.
The whole day she played up, did everything I told her not to do, was contrary, untidy even beyond her own pretty untidy abilities, paints everywhere, especially places that really shouldn’t have been decorated (we’ll call it abstract art). Food on the floor (its possible it was an artistic expression), toys flung across the hall, general mayhem and just when you think there’s a quieter moment coming, that she’s burned herself out and you have a few moments to sit and catch your breath…she finds energy from somewhere (where exactly?) and becomes a human whirlwind again.
By the end of the day, when Grandma and Papa come to collect her, I confess I am relieved. I am irritable, frustrated, exhausted and feel like collapsing in a heap. But the whirlwind is leaving to whirl elsewhere.
Then I remember that I had bought her some sweets from an American Candy store here in Glasgow, Scotland. I’d walked past the window and noticed Wonka Bars on display. I’d never seen them anywhere in the UK, only in the film. My own preference is the original film but wee niece loves the Johnny Depp version. Anyway, I go in and buy a Wonka Bar and a couple other sweets from the film. The bag with the sweets is in the kitchen cupboard but I’m so exhausted I think I’ll just give them to her next time, it can wait, I’m too tired and irritable. But something moves me within, something says…oh go on, just get them now and give them to her. So against my own will I get the bag of sweets and reluctantly take them outside.
I walked down the steps from the front door as wee niece is walking with Papa to the car where Grandma awaits. I call to wee niece and show her the bag and I take out the Wonka Bar and explain I got these for her and a few other Wonka-esque sweets.
She takes one look at the Wonka Bar and her face lights up like its Christmas morning. She thinks these only exist in the film and her wee face goes bright red with excitement. She is beside herself (I’ve always wondered if that is even possible?).
She takes the bag, turns to Papa and says in a thrilled voice “Its a Wonka Bar!!”
She turns to me, says “Thank you” and gives me a wee hug.
She walks towards Papa again, looks into the bag at the Wonka Bar again, turns to me and says “Love you Uncle”.
She jumps into the car and Papa secures her safely there in her car seat.
I am still standing there and the clouds in my mind part and the sun breaks through.
Inside I am smiling, happy, not exactly full of energy but the power of “Thank you” and “Love you” has brought about an inner transformation.
I walk inside, sit on the floor with my back to the wall, raise my head to the heavens and say with a quiet inner voice, “Its alright, its just alright.”
Thanks for reading.
ps. I later learned from wee niece’s mum that there was a golden ticket inside, they must put them in all the bars. How to explain to wee niece that she’s not actually going to the Chocolate Factory even though she has a golden ticket…??