Through the looking glass…
As one year closes and another one opens it’s been a long time between drinks as they say. So much has happened in the last 12 months and the year has flown by in what feels like a blink of an eye. It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, but the older you get – the faster time moves and before you know it you are once again preparing for Christmas and all the stress that seems to come with it.
Do you remember being a child and the days leading up to Christmas taking forever? Each hour felt like a lifetime until it was finally time to go to bed and wait to hear the thump of the reindeer landing on the roof. I would lie there willing my eyes to stay open so I could hear the ‘Big Mans’ arrival, only to wake in the morning to find I had missed it. The evidence of his visit however, was under the Christmas tree in the many beautifully wrapped presents.
I think as adults we sometime get so caught up in all that we need to do, we forget that there is a certain magic to this time of year and if you take the time to look, it’s right there in front of your face. This year our Christmas was a marathon. Lasting a week, we had back-to-back events with family and friends and I was exhausted just thinking about it, before it had even begun. It was definitely not a hundred meter sprint in which to drink too much on the first evening and be hung-over for the event to follow. No…. This was going to take some stamina! Pacing and bracing myself for the idle chit-chat, the getting along with family, saying all the right things and hiding the ‘black sheep’ of the family in me, was stressing me out more than preparing Christmas dinner and getting the fairy lights all to work, all at the same time!
My pre-game routine became a ritual, with a glass of champagne in hand; I would change my outfit 15 times and remind myself over and over again, not to say anything controversial. Needless to say, I was nervous and despite the fact that I don’t care what these people think of me, I didn’t want to make it a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons. To my family, Christmas is a BIG DEAL. There are traditions that have been upheld since I was a child and although the people and landscape has changed over the years, their expectations of Christmas and bringing family together remains the same.
By Boxing Day I had seemingly survived a number of events relatively unscathed. But Boxing Day signalled the start of the ‘Main Events’ which had me worried. This was all my family craziness at its best. One must do ones best to look good, behave and get along for the sake of family and tradition. My mother doesn’t really expect us all to get along – except on Christmas. This is not a request – it is a given. And whilst I love her for that – it does take some effort!
KAM has been around now for a while and also knows what to expect and what is expected of him. I could feel the tension within us both as we drove towards my family home. However, as we turned into my mum and dad’s Street, the Christmas magic kicked in and all I could smell in the summer air was my dad’s roast meats cooking on the multiple barbecues he has going preparing to feed the hordes about to embark on his home. It’s fair to say my dad is a bit of a Christmas Grinch. But come hell or high water – he’s in charge of the meat, and don’t try to take that from him or dare to offer advice. It has been his role for a number of years now and happens to be one of my favourite things about this time of year. He slaves over them for hours – marinating, roasting and finally carving them, after sharpening his knives like a pro. I watch him take so much pride and care with his role at Christmas time and quite frankly, the result is amazing! My mum is like Christmas on speed! She decorates better than a David Jones window display, cooks, prepares and makes the house look just so. It’s important to her to have all the family together and wants everything to be perfect. Somehow despite how busy she is, she carries it off every year.
So as everyone has arrived, poured themselves a drink and is sitting around catching up, I merely sit and observe. This year, our table is full of children and the magic of a hot summer Christmas inclusive of cold ham, a sunlight pool and treats they wouldn’t be allowed any other time of year is evident. The smile on their faces and giggles coming from the kiddie table as they crack the bon-bons is infectious and you can’t help but smile along with them.
Some of our table are blood relatives and some are not. Some, I haven’t seen for 20 years and some I had never met until recently. Teenagers with so much spunk and their whole life ahead of them. Some who have lost love this year and some who have found it. We, who have been grounded and feeling sorry for ourselves, realise that we made it through yet another year of turmoil and I think are just happy to still be in one piece.
After all the presents are opened, our bellies are full and the champagne is giving me a nice buzz, I am glad that KAM and I didn’t pack our bags and run from the Christmas festivities (even though we talked about it a lot!). Christmas comes but once a year and there is no better reason to celebrate the people you call ‘family’ whether they are people you belong to, or people you have chosen.
So happy New Year to my fellow travellers, dreamers and gypsy’s alike. No matter who you are, no matter where you roam, family is a gift, and will always be your home.
Dedicated to a new friend who is clever, feisty and full of life. Put pen to paper girlfriend! People will love your sparkle! xo