Wednesday, 12 December 2012


It's cold in London today. Not much cloud, and the sort of temperatures which make your feet freeze if you're standing around outside. Like I do most days at the gate of the nursery school, greeting children and parents on their way in.

I'm standing there, and I notice that all along the railings are spiders' webs which have frozen. They have an icy coating, like icing sugar that has been sieved on.

A little boy comes in whose life, I know, is hard for reasons I cannot share here, which are no-one's "fault". His father is carrying him, giving him a lot of gentle and silent reassurance. As he's up high, I point out the white spiders' webs. But he looks more anxious than anything else, and I think they are both humouring me a little by looking and waiting.

Ten minutes later, he comes back, holding his key person's hand. He is saying, loud and insistent, "spider...spider". His key person looks a little confused, but she is trusting him to take her to see something important. They stand at the railings and he points to the webs.

His key person tells me that he got upset and then angry when he was left in nursery this morning, but then shortly after he had got over that, he had got up, held her hand and insisted on taking her out. He had held onto something that was fascinating him, despite his upset, and he had wanted to share it with her once he felt calm enough.

It's common to call moments "magical". This was magical like I felt when reading the first Harry Potter book to my daughter, when I could sense her marvelling at the magic the children summoned up. This time it was being overcome by a child's sense of wonder, which had itself overcome so many other hard emotions in a hard life.