I’m one of those weird people, I like to put ‘Christmas’ up around the 10th December, right when it starts feeling really cold and wintery, I like to feel like it sort of brings the Christmas in and keeps the place feeling warm and cosy, and then, you release it before the New Year. That’s become my big thing now, always by the New Year. It feels weird, but oddly ‘right’. There isn’t much that I find sadder than the appearance of a tree with no presents after Christmas, and sadness is not how I want to start my New Year.

So last night, I sat down to sort out our Christmas cards out. As a general rule, most cards do go out for recycling unless they’re covered in glitter (damn those people). It used to be that ones from close family got saved, but we all agreed that boxfuls of cards were just clutter and a waste of money, and so we don’t buy them anymore. I feel somewhat obligated to send them to those who send them to me, but in our family, it’s not something we give to each other,

Apart from my father-in-law.

As I sorted through the cards yesterday, I came across his card. At first, I was taken by the way he writes ‘Dad’. Short line, strong curve, short line, bold arch. Very assertive. He took his role as Dad extremely seriously for someone who suffers with such high levels of anxiety.

As I looked back up the card, something else struck me. The way he writes! He writes just like Wolfie!

I’d always lovlingly teased Wolfie about his handwriting. I’d seen block capitals and I’d seen all lower case, but never a combination of the two.

“Don’t send any nasty letters, will you?” I’d tease, “you have easily distinguishable handwriting.” Not so much nowadays, it seems.

I held the card to my chest. If there was one thing I knew to be true of Wolfie. He is far, far smarter than he lets on.

“He’s not illiterate,” I whispered, “he learned this.”

I’ve long urged Wolfie to get tested for dyslexia and dyspraxia. It means absolutely nothing of his intelligence if he is dyslexic and I’ve known many incredibly gifted men and women who were far more intelligent than me, but who still struggled to write or read. My grandfather himself, a serving soldier during the Malayan Emergency, learned to spell by doing crosswords. To me, it’s not a sign of a lack of intellect, but a sign that someone is struggling and needs support. If he can open jars for me, I think nothing of helping him write what he means to say. If he can lovingly mock me for needing him to repeat things four times and my ‘drunken’ behaviour because of my cerebral ataxia, then his lower case e’s are fair game. I don’t do it out of spite, I do it out of love. A love, want and a desire to see him succeed.

After all, love means loving someone for all that they are and all that they could be, mixed up letters and all.

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