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The Luck I've Had

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In the first long moments when you start to say those rehearsed thanks for a gift given with such trust that the receiver will like it, there's time to think silently that it looks unfinished. The wrapping is less than squarely put on, taped with abandon, and the asymmetrical look extends to what's inside...

She smiles a little, wondering if her son was so eager he hadn't wanted to wait to do the end, or perhaps he'd been distracted by other projects and found it suddenly Christmas eve: inevitable too-soon time to wrap what he'd done. Ready or not, as he'd so often been in hide and seek and other games: but doggedly focused on the things that truly caught his interest.

Doggedly might not be the best verb to use.

The books they'd got for him explained the process all the way to finishing, surely? Or had he gone to the less representational side of the art already?

This is what happens when you take your child to the British Museum without fully checking the list, and the exhibit of glossy painted skulls leads to looking up others of Damien Hirst's works.

They had a budding artist on their hands. Better lopsided pelt over form than some piece like Tracey Emin's My Bed, they told each other. (Their son had the unmade bed concept long since down.)

And while you may be uncomfortable at what the gift is, you have to appreciate the bright joy in his face as it's Christmas morning and he gets to give it to you at last.

"I left the pins in so you can decide his expression!"