Christmas Day. The Big Day. The most important day of the whole year, according to some TV personalities.
I have spent weeks scrubbing the house, scouring the stores (and the web) for the perfect gifts. My back is yet to forgive me for the hours I’ve spent bent over wrapping presents, and my bank account is scowling at me, and intends to sulk until mid February.
I planned for the day, I double checked, I informed everyone who would be involved, and I really thought that this year would be the year Christmas Day went smoothly.
Because I am an idiot.
It is 2.44pm. I am sat in my kitchen, watching my brother’s puppy chase my cat, and listening to my oven make straining sounds as it tries it’s hardest to cook the dinner. Yes, the dinner has only just gone in. My brother is asleep on the sofa in the living room. My daughter is playing in her bedroom, after pulling a less-than-excited face at her presents.
Of course, we all received beautiful gifts. My daughter got a tablet, after a year of asking, as well as an assortment of My Little Pony themed items. My Dad bought the best gifts as always, and was given some great ones too. My brother kept up his tradition of buying me a new diary for the year, and it is gorgeous, and he loved the pyjamas I got for him. The Boyfriend text to say he loved his gift (sigh of relief) and I laughed for at least 10 minutes at what he got me. We miss each other, but it’s all good. So what exactly, you ask, threw my plan out?
An impromptu visit to my mother’s house left us all drained and miserable, and now we sit, divided, waiting for the food to bring us together again. As aforementioned, my mother has been sick for many years. Me and my brother are accustomed to her steadily degenerating illness, but it hits home twice as hard at Christmas. Especially now, when she can’t eat or drink, and can barely talk, and one sharp breath could result in a medical emergency. The walk home was sombre, despite the beautifully mild weather, and the half hour of silence when we got home wasn’t enough to take the edge off.
Still, as I pour my second Bacardi and Coke (it is now 2.58pm, and I can hear you judging me) I consider that this Christmas surely still outranks the last. Sure, things have been tense and upsetting after seeing my mother. Perhaps my daughter’s reactions were a little (lot) less excited than I had hoped for. And of course we are all a little stir crazy and on top of each other – the puppy included. But this time last year I was still wondering if we would ever make it to this Christmas. I wondered if X would ever be put behind bars, and if my daughter would ever enjoy a gift or a holiday again.
So I sip my drink, and toast to small victories, and start to think ahead to what 2017 could bring with it. After all… We’ve a long way to go before next Christmas.