Christmas grief lunch rituals

I knew I’d really let the team down when Mum opened her present. She gazed into the shoebox, confounded, and then looked at me.

“It’s -- it’s… what is it?”

I was about to declare it was a handmade clay gnome that bore an uncanny resemblance to Bert Newton when I peered over her shoulder. I’d given my mother a box of dirt for Christmas. For 14 years she had fed me and driven me around and paid for things that I wasn’t even aware of, and I had given her a box of dirt in return.