I don’t really do reviews, it’s not why I write these blogs but sometimes I just feel the urge to.

Tonight’s bedtime story was a present from a good friend and colleague. She’s a very kind heart and has often turned up with books her two teenagers loved at little Ps age for me to read. This one was given to us before Christmas but as I was doing a Christmas story advent calendar and there was an array of books left under the tree, I saved it. And tonight we read it and oh how I’m glad we did because it really was…Something Else.

Now, as much as I try to pretend I’m not, I’m a softie and a romantic at heart that often likes to view the world through rose tinted glasses (yes, I can see/here the signs and rolls of eyes from those that know me best saying, “yeh you do”). Well we read something else and for all it’s probably a little bit above madam P’s understanding and that the true meaning went over her head, she enjoyed it and I well, in all honesty, I filled up a little. Yes a children’s book made me well up and no it’s not the first time.

You see the sentiment of the book is just well, me. It’s the person, the mother and the teacher I am. Something Else just wants to belong, he’s different, ostracised and picked on. He’s lonely and just wants to fit in. He wants a friend. And low and behold he makes one (sorry, should’ve given you a spoiler alert shouldn’t I?) and then they love happily ever after as little friends that are both, Something Else.

I guess part of my filling up is the aftermath of a stressful few days, cue lockdown, school closure take 3 and the thought of a lot of time without social interaction. Bit like Something Else really. I don’t want to be lonely, I want to belong with my friends, which luckily I do, I just can’t see them other than over a FaceTime screen, zoom call or outside in the rain or frost at a 2m distance. It’s not a nice feeling though is it, being without people.

My emotion at the book was more than that though. I read the first page and just thought instantly, “I hope P makes friends with a Something Else” which I do, I hope she is happy to look beyond the superficial things and make friends with others for who they are. The person that they are and that she bases her friendship on whether or not the other person is kind, respectful and a good person to be around. I want her to read the book and fully absorb the sentiment.

I also want her to have the confidence to be a Something Else, to be her individual self and not what she thinks she needs to be, conforming to just please others and feel like she belongs. I want her to have the guts to stand by her own likes, dislikes and principles and learn to belong with those that accept her for who she is. Because in reality, trying to fit in and be someone you’re not is just as lonely as being alone, if not more.

I had possibly the biggest compliment off an old friend the other day. I’ve known him for a very very long time and his relocating means we don’t see much of each other now other than the odd social media message or email to catch up once in awhile. But the bond is still there, he’s a good mate that gets me. Anyway, I digress, he said to me that thing about me is that anyone couldn’t help but be anything but themselves around me, that I gave people the confidence to relax and just be themselves and not try to act as anything else. I think that’s the biggest compliment because well, how nice is it to think that I have the ability to make people feel that confident and comfortable around me, without even trying or knowing. I was also told that I make everything feel better than before. How kind is that? That again by just being me, I’m able to make people feel better.

Which is really what Something Else needed. Someone to make them relax and confident to be themselves and feel better than before. And it’s what Something Else got, by giving that feeling to someone else. Crikey, how deep am I going about a children’s storybook! Well little things can have big messages and tonight’s bedtime story reminded me of how important it is to be kind and to love each other and to show you care.

We all need a bit of that showing you care right now. We all need a virtual hug (because we’re not allowed a real one) and someone to just check in and say “hey, you ok?” And someone that we can say to, “no I’m not right now.” So let’s be like Something Else and help each other belong.

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