Four little words I hear a lot.  Or variants thereof.  And my answer is often dissatisfying.  I’m generally on top of this knot of yarn I call my life, and the thing I crave more than anything else is continuity…  for one day to be more or less exactly as the same as the one preceding it, and similar enough to cause confusion to the one that follows.  That gives me control, or at least the illusion of control; in turn that gives me a sense of peace.

But there are things that help.  A cup of tea is always salutary.  The occasional invitation to tea after school for an impromptu pizza or pasta for the kids is a real blessing.  Those home cooked meals that were put in my freezer when my lovely Maman was over for a week – just perfect for those evenings when exhaustion takes over.

One of the favourite things in my life is Post Pals.  A little, locally run charity that defies easy definition, but that provides moments of joy and happiness to families all over the UK who are struggling with chronic illness or disability.  Their tag line?

Brightening the lives of sick children

A parcel day from Post Pals…

Post Pals have a number of off shoots now, with various projects to ensure their “Pals” get regular post, or gifts, but the basic concept is the one I love most.  Each Pal registered with them has a page describing their likes, dislikes, siblings and parents, and a brief summary of their difficulties.  Parents are asked to update once a month.  That’s it.  Plus an address.

Eldest… for those not in the know, this is a wonderful expression of calm and happiness. I love it!

Anyone, from anywhere can pick up a pen and send that child or their siblings a card, or letter.  And believe it or not, my favourites are often the bright postcards that simply shout out “Hi Tom”.  Each and every time my children hear the thump of post landing on the doormat, they rush to find out if they are lucky that day.  More often than not, there is a card or letter for one or other of them.  Smiles follow.

That’s all…

Smiles follow.

Concentration, anticipation… and soon the fizz of HAPPY!

Just from the act of sending the tiniest note, a child smiles.  And that smile has an enormous knock-on effect.  Any sibling fights tend to fizzle out, Mummy smiles and breathes and remembers that however bad things are just now, it’s only a moment.  Just as the smile is only a moment.  Except that a smile is far more powerful than any fight, and a smiley moment shines into the next and into the next… And all of a sudden, that little note has lifted an entire family, often for an entire day!

Little Man engrossed in a gift that several days later he has still not put down!

So the next time you wonder, “how can I help?”…

The next time you find yourself at a loss to what to do…

The next time you want to make a difference…

Go and visit

Find a Pal, learn a little about them and send them a card.

Make one, buy one, send one through

For the price of a little time and a stamp you can and you will make a difference, and make a whole family handle their tangles a little more easily.