It is Christmas Eve and my clinic finishes early. The restaurant is booked for 730, and we arrive in Epping early. It has been two weeks since we have seen the children. I help get the children ready for our evening out. Huw tells me that I might have just saved Lakshmi’s life. I wonder what he is talking about.
While on holiday in the Canary Islands, Kavitha took the children out for a walk by the pond. Lakshmi was following behind. She slipped and fell over the ledge into the water. Kavitha had Lavinia on a sling all buckled up in front of her and so couldn’t jump into the water. The water was deep enough for Lakshmi to go under. She panicked but doggy paddled her way up so that she could keep her head above the water and by this time someone jumped in and got her out. Apparently she didn’t cry but wouldn’t go in the swimming pool after that. They think that she was able to pull herself up because she knew what to do as I take her swimming whenever I get the chance. It will be a struggle to get her back in the pool the next time, but I will have to keep persevering.
“Are we walking?” Lakshmi asks. “Yes, it’s only a short walk”, I reply. “I can do it”, She says as she holds my hand and we make our way to the restaurant. The place is packed. They even have security at the entrance and only those with reservations are allowed in. The service is slow and food mediocre but we don’t mind. Lakshmi is tired and falls asleep in the middle of eating her starters. We let her sleep for a while and wake her up when the mains arrive.
It is late by the time we walk back home. The church bells are ringing and Kavitha explains that Santa will be coming soon. Lakshmi’s eyes light up with wonder as she imagines Santa in his sleigh arriving with his sackful of presents. The twinkling stars and ringing bells add to the magic. We let her open our present. The ‘Gruffalo’ book, to remind her of our Gruffalo trail walk in the woods during the summer. Lavinia is already fast asleep. She must be full after gorging on and helping finish Lakshmi’s fish and chips. We say our goodbyes and drive back home.