Ah. Christmas. I am glad you are over.
Pathetic – how hard I took the ‘loss’ of one child from the Xmas dinner table. Irony is: it was me who got angry when labelled ‘mother’ or ‘mother of five’. Just proves how central that ‘label’ was to me – and to my sense of self.
Or maybe it’s just ‘family’ that has always mattered – after all, why go to the pain of having five, if you really hate the thought of ‘family’?
Anyway… Knowing that it was damaging and senseless and would lose us our daughter forever, I (oh thank fuck for some self-control – ’tis maybe a good thing, the maturity that comes with age) resisted the hellish, burning and raging temptation to have a tantrum, to spit the dummy and ‘insist’ that she be here for the 25th – without her partner. Instead I explained that the rift between her partner and the rest of us meant that it would be best we didn’t pretend his presence would be welcome or that he wanted to be there. And that we would fully understand her need to spend Xmas with him. We could all catch up on another day. We were sorry for any hurt caused to her – but that we loved her and hoped not to fall out over this.
We caught up on the 23rd.
Xmas was quieter.
I suppose they’re all growing up. The hysteria and excitement is over now. Louis was first up – at 6am – but that had bugger all to do with present-lust and everything to do with his December nightshifts which have turned him into a vampire. He had apparently been awake all night. 6am represented ‘the decency watershed’; the point at which it became ok to go make coffee and ‘inadvertently’ wake R and I.
It was a good awakening. My 21 year old son making coffee for us – and then sitting at the bottom of the bed and chatting about his Xmas Eve partying and Evan’s exploits (‘give the boy his due, Mum, the lad pulled’) and his own workplace travails.
Finally, about 8am, I asked him to go wake the rest. And he did.
Evan – three sheets to the wind – still drunk from carolling got up, moaning and swaying down the stairs. He lasted 45 minutes – just long enough to hand out his gifts and open the ones he’d received – and then staggered upstairs to bed again. He was there until 3pm. Louis had got a bit mad with him by that time – leaving him to suffer the oldies and young ones on his own like that…
Truthfully we were all subdued anyway.
Iain (Mum’s youngest brother – more brother to me than to her) has been critically ill and threatening death for the last 3 weeks or more. Mum and Dad had arrived in here at midnight on Xmas Eve – Mum frightened and sobbing. Endocarditis means new heart valves are required – but continuing infection and co-morbidities mean he’s currently too weak to endure surgery.
My cousin phoned Xmas midday to say he’d rallied a bit from the dreadful state he’d been in the day before but needed to rest – so the planned trip to the hospital was shelved.
Time was filled with the remaining food prep. Which just meant even more ‘too much’ – an excess that has kept us fed til today and which will feed the badgers for another night.
It’s tomorrow night that I look forward to. I’ve always preferred it.
No partying here for a change – but we’re heading to Braidwood and my pal’s house. And it’s from there that I will bring in the New Year and see out the old. It’s from there that I will raise a toast to you all…
I send you all my very best wishes for a happy, successful, peaceful, healthy 2015…