Last night Goatee surprised me by taking me to the ballet. We saw Cinderella at the Theatre Royal. It was a wonderful gesture and we had a great night, but I didn’t tell him why a surprise visit to the ballet meant so much to me.

When I was little, my mum worked. She had a part time job in a shop, which usually was fairly flexible with her hours, except over the Christmas holidays. She was required to work fulltime during the Christmas season, something which she didn’t mind as it brought extra income during the holidays. Unfortunately for mum, this left her without childcare, a problem that was compounded when Katie and I were off school for our Christmas break.

To help out mum, Nan would come stay with us over the holidays, and I loved it. She was such fun, and could, at times, be the best stereotype of a Nan. She taught me to knit, and how to bake cookies and cakes. But she was also really cool and fun, and she used to jump around the lounge with us singing along to the radio.

Also, we had two very special Christmas traditions. One was to see the local Panto, and the other was to get dressed up in our finest and go to the ballet in London. Sometimes it was the Nutcracker, and one year we saw A Christmas Carol as a ballet, but usually it was Cinderella.

Unlike my sister — who wanted to be a ballerina, and one Christmas wedged cups to the end of her feet so she could walk around the house like a ballerina and subsequently broke her foot — I didn’t want to be a ballerina. But I loved the ballet all the same. The sequined costumes, the sparkling backdrops, and the girls on their toes.

So last night, when the Prince found his Cinderella I was in a flood of tears. Not because of the old love story, but because I am so thankful to have had my Nan in my life, and I miss her so very much. Christmas just won’t be the same without her.


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