I bloody love Christmas. I love the tinsel, the fairy lights, mulled wine, soppy films, christmas carols and Christmas number ones, selection boxes and sherry.
I love it so much that every year I perfect the routine of getting over-excited in November, leaving December open to a long series of small to large disappointments. I have possibly spent the last 26 years trying to take back the conversation I had with my mum where I tested the idea that I didn’t believe in Santa Claus. I was an over-imaginative child who loved believing in everything – if my mum had defended the big red man, I may still believe in him now.
Christmas with a newborn last year was the toughest yet. Why is “Baby’s 1st Christmas” even a thing? They have no idea what’s going on. And us parents don’t get a break from the sleeplessness or relentless feeding: what we do get a break from is the steady routine that makes it all work just fine.
But, you know, November came along, it got cold, and I got excited. And you know what? So far, it’s gone about half right. Planned to take the little man to see Santa’s grotto, the switching on of the Christmas lights, the carols in town: massive fail. He was coming down with a chest infection, and he cried and cried and cried. Planned to get him excited about picking out a tree? Massive fail: he fell over outside the christmas forest before we chose the tree, cried through the choosing, then fell over after we chose it and bruised the hell out of his head.
Yesterday, his response to turning on the fairy lights on our enormous tree? “Wow…”
I religiously followed the Recipe Rifle blog (now finished, but amazing, and you can find the old blogs here http://reciperifle.blogspot.co.uk/), which introduced me to the idea of parenting being all about moments of glory. Everything is tougher than it used to be. Everything. But the highs are so much higher, and they are the memories to talk about, to cling to, to absolutely relish.
So today was my Christmas moment of glory. The little man woke up happy after sleeping through for a glorious 12 hours. He cheerfully went to nursery for the first time in over a week. The husband and I worked from home and then went to the nursery mid morning for carols. My beautiful little boy sat on my knee, singing away, waving his home-made star and giggling. We chatted to the other parents, cuddled the boy incessantly and then left him happy as we went off Christmas shopping. Bought everything we had planned, had a glass of champagne, came home for movies and pizza and more cuddles.
This December, that’s enough for me. I have a perfect day in the bank. I have, today, a healthy child and, always, a lovely husband. It doesn’t take a lot of wins to make it all worthwhile: after the rubbishness of last week, today has put my world back to rights. Merry Christmas to my little boy. And Merry Christmas to my 8 year old self: maybe parenting will bring back that magic.