SMALL AND BIG was inspired by my second son, the eldest of my identical twins. Mr J. is into details and has a knack for noticing interesting and beautiful things around him. This was particularly evident one day when he was all of two years old.
I had taken the three boys to their swimming lessons, which seemed to be a Herculean feat every week. I was also pregnant with Miss H at that point, so life was just a little bit crazy and I was exhausted, to say the least. This particular day I had managed to get everyone through their lessons and get all of us changed and ready to go home. I was in a hurry and focussed on the big picture of my day, but of course the boys were prone to dawdling out the door. There was dinner to cook, the house to clean, washing to do (there’s always washing to do!), so I hurried them all along. I had the triplet pram piled high with towels and wet bathers and a big supply of snacks and the nappy bag, and the boys were walking along beside me. Just when I thought we’d made it out the door with everyone in tow, I turned around to discover Mr J was missing.
Exasperated, I headed back into the main pool area with a stern face and stern words. I managed to blurt out, “Mummy said it’s time to go-” before Mr J. looked up at me, his magnificent blue eyes wide with wonder.
“Mummy, look at the beautiful leaf,” he whispered.
And there, trapped between two sheets of corrugated iron that covered the interior walls of the pool area, was a perfectly symmetrical red leaf.
My heart was filled with regret for having hurried so, and with thankfulness for having this precious little man who found beauty in the most unlikely places. With tears in my eyes, we both stood and appreciated this small but significant moment before continuing on with our big day.
I tucked that experience away in my heart and knew one day it would make a good book. It took a few years (Mr J. is now 7), but I was right. I love the words of SMALL AND BIG as much as I did the day I wrote it and I love it even more now that my words have illustrations! Ben has done an incredible job of bringing my story to life and I can’t thank him enough. If you want to read a bit about the process Ben went through illustrating SMALL AND BIG, hop on over to his blog for a read. And when you get a chance to read SMALL AND BIG, look out for a red leaf or two.