We had a good Christmas. I don't know how many we have left together and this year it did feel different. I don't think Roch was able to enjoy it the way he has in the past. It was hard for him to enter into the spirit of it. Well, I don't blame him, but there were times when it felt a bit lonely. Not because he couldn't help but because I sometimes felt I couldn't share my pleasure in the little Christmassy things. It was hard for him. He wasn't able to help with the preparations or shopping and although he had intended to do some internet shopping in advance, he never got round to it so I think he felt like he hadn't made enough of a contribution and that cast him down. I went into overdrive to make up for it, to produce the 'Christmas package'. Not that I didn't enjoy it. I love Christmas and I love making it happen in our home. I'm good at it. This year saw the production of a Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas spiced biscuits in honour of the new oven. I really loved the baking and what could match the proud moment when Tom told me that my baking had made Christmas for him? I enjoyed every moment of the preparations and I think I pulled it off for both the kids.
Of course it did mean that I was utterly exhausted at the end of it and so between Christmas and New Year I felt so rotten that I had to cancel my various arrangements to meet up with friends on the days Roch was in work. I should know better.
Roch will tell you that I often have a tendency to overdo things at times, trying to achieve some notion of perfection. In recent years I had hoped I was more relaxed, but this Christmas I outdid myself. So what was going on?
Simple really, the more I did, the more tasks and goals I set myself, the less time I had to think. What will next Christmas be like? How many more will there be? The less time I had to feel the sadness. Because a sort of patina of sadness overlay everything for me and I know it was the same for Roch. Christmas is a time to be joyful, a time to give praise and thanks and after Christmas Day Mass, the kids and I agreed that it felt difficult to do that this year. Roch came to Mass the next day with me, as he wasn't well enough to come with us on Christmas Day. He said the same thing. It was bitterly cold, the Feast of the Holy Family, and afterwards he told me that he found walking from the car to the Church depressingly difficult.
There were many lovely moments together, like our Christmas Eve viewing of 'It's a Wonderful Life', which is our tradition now. I am acutely aware that I am storing memories - and perhaps that's a gift in itself. Treasure the moments.
Roch and I shared a lovely New Year's Eve - the kids were out for the first New Year ever and although I worked the day, we went out for a relaxed meal together in the early evening and then home to an uninterrupted DVD viewing of the disaster movie 2012. I think we both felt a disaster movie was the perfect choice for us to ring in the New Year. As the world as we know it literally fell to pieces before our eyes, I had a strange feeling of deja vu. After midnight, we joined some neighbours in the street for champagne. That was lovely.
So Christmas is over and boxed up and put away and here we are in 2011. We've made it and we still have some Christmas cake left.
Tomorrow: The Sat Nav and the Professor...