Daughter asks if I will lie with her in bed one evening, the room lit by fairy lights, a girl fragrant, warm and soft after her bath. We spend the next ten minutes taking turns inflating our cheeks and letting the other squeeze the air out. I pass her her book and she happily immerses herself in it. A minute or two later she looks over at me and says "Isn't this lovely?". And it is; she is quite right.
All sitting round the kitchen table, colouring, cutting, glueing, making. And a new version of a scene that has been played many times at that table: boy draws and draws, gets cross that something is not as good as the vision he had in his head, and roars from frustration, starts again. After the third roar, I suggest that if it's making him really cross, maybe it might be good to have a break and do something else. The new ending: "No Mum, I'm persevering". Ten minutes later he interrupts my cooking to show me the final version, the one he's pleased with.
Playing in the woods, gathering leaves, sticks, finding treasure: bones, pieces of china, a piece of rock sparkling with crystals. Going home, stripping off muddy clothes, gulping down drinks, a big washing up bowl full of soapy water for cleaning feet in and also for scrubbing the treasure until it's glistening.
And in the spare time, I finally manage to succeed. I send an email to apologise that the quilt will be another week, that there are so many loose ends of threads to sew in and that time is so short. That evening I check it all over and am surprised to see they are almost all done; the quilt is so huge that it hasn't been possible to view the whole thing as I'm going along. A reminder to look at the big picture more often.