I’m pretty proud of my kids right now. Like half the country, I had to tell them that despite the fact that we’d been isolating in preparation, we wouldn’t be able to see family over Christmas after all, because we are in Tier 4. They were obviously upset, so I made sure to tell them that Christmas wasn’t cancelled, and that we would still do all the normal Christmassy things. My youngest said ‘Mummy, the countdown of days until Christmas that I’ve been doing for weeks, wasn’t a countdown to presents or food. It was a countdown to seeing my grandparents and finally hugging them’. That crushed my heart a little (ok a lot), but also made me feel glad that she has her priorities straight.
I wish I had better news for them, but I’ve been reminding them regularly that the vaccine is coming, it’s just going to take a while to get round to everyone, so we have a few more months of tough times to get through, before we see ‘normal’ coming round the corner again. And they reminded me how lucky we are to have our health and our loved ones. I’m counting their attitude as a win.
In the meantime we’ve been pretty busy. My 13-year-old is now my 14-year-old. We celebrated in traditional lockdown manner by staying in, seeing no one, baking, then desperately searching for a film on Netflix that we hadn’t already seen. But she took it in her stride and we did actually have a lovely dog walk and some cheerful Facetime calls. While we were making a batch of 24 birthday cookies, I told the girls they could have just one before tea. So instead of 24 normal ones, they each made 3 cookies the size of their heads and informed me through the one small corner of their mouths that wasn’t stuffed with biscuit, that it was my own fault for not being specific.
And then with birthdays done and dusted, it was time to prepare for Christmas. It’s been a few years since they’ve been into performing nativity plays, but boredom took over and my youngest has been preparing one for Christmas day. I had a front-row seat for the rehearsal.
I can’t decide whether my favourite part was the donkey moaning that nobody took him seriously, what with him being the ass of the family, or Mary losing her temper over the lack of rooms and telling the innkeeper she was too old for all this nonsense, and if he didn’t make more of an effort to find something decent, she was going to take her business elsewhere. I won’t tell you what she said when offered the stable, but even Joseph thought it was a bit harsh.
It wasn’t long before the play descended into what was basically a rendition of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ with Mary singing ‘Feed the World’ over and over, and Jesus playing Bono. After the fiftieth repetition of the chorus, my teenager came thundering up the stairs shouting that she was TRYING to get her homework done and (in true Christmas spirit) if Mary didn’t shut up right now, she would get a dead leg.
An outraged Mary then informed her sister that if we really did live in biblical times, she’d be within her rights to have her executed, and she was going to find out if that was still the case today. At which point I had to wearily step in and question their knowledge of history, religion and family law. Not to mention issuing my own threats, mainly involving pudding.
So that’s a glimpse into what our Christmas is going to be like. I plan to deal with it by eating cheese and feigning deafness. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, despite what we’re all facing, and here’s to a much improved 2021. I’ll see you all next year.
Lots of love, and Bring on Bedtime!