It’s the most ‘wonderful’ time of the year

Christmas is my absolute favourite. A small goth part of me wants to be all cool and claim that Halloween is my jam. But pretty coloured fairy lights, Bing Crosby, dedicated stationery and compulsory letter writing, a whole plethora of mythological figures, the sanctioned gluttony of the most delicious and decadent foods and the requirement to see and celebrate with all my friends and family.

Given free reign I would deck the halls with boughs of holly, have at least one Christmas tree in every single one of our rooms, of course there’s room for a wee tree in the bathroom and singlehandedly drain the national grid with the electricity requirements of bazillions of fairy lights.

One of the aspects of parenting I was most excited about was involving smalls in festivising. If toddler + glitter = carnage then bring it on. All the best dressed houses have glitter in the cracks between their floorboards. It’s fairy dust.

Christmas crafts, baking, trips to see the big man, carol singing, pantomime, sneaking into bedrooms to pop stockings at the end of their beads and basking in the glow of their joy as they rip into Christmas morning.

Only that isn’t actually anything like our festivities. Change and deviation from the routine must be minimised. Decorations must be contained to the living room and even then much lower key than I would like. Weeks of anticipation, build up and reminders that ALL IS NOT NORMAL will not be tolerated.

I understand. Life is unpredictable, confusing and hard to understand on the most boring and dull of days. Christmas is system overload for my eldest. It always has been.

As a tiny she was petrified of Santa. Not just wary but proper terror. The blood curdling screams she let out when Santa approached her at the supermarket silenced Sainsbury’s the Saturday before Christmas. I remain convinced people thought that at the very least she had lost a limb. She has never allowed us to put a stocking in her room. The thought of Santa coming into her room while she was sleeping took sleep completely off the table.

We now spread our Christmas over several days. Partially to minimise the impact. Partially so that we have plenty of time to deal with the inevitable meltdowns, dramas and crises.

This year we’ll do the meal, just the four of us, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. There will be presents, probably a walk on the beach and a tonne of chocolate consumption on Christmas Day. Boxing Day will be for R&R&R&R – Rest, Relaxation, Recuperation and Repair. Then on the 27th we’ll head down to my parents, hoping that at least one of my sisters and her brood will have already gone home because she can’t cope will all the family all at once.

It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting because this is the final hurdle. We’ve been deep in firefighting mode since the 2nd of December. School starts to change. There is talk of dances – nope not a chance, trips to the pantomime with the drama department – cue weeks of trauma about who she will sit next to on the bus, PE morphs into Scottish country dance classes – traumatic to most teenagers let alone the socially impaired and this is before people stop wearing what she expects them to – her fury at a teacher having the audacity to wear a Christmas jumper and pudding earrings could probably have helped me power a good few of those bazillion fairy lights.

Balancing her needs for home to be a sanctuary with my desire to mummify the house in tinsel is hard enough. Throw an excited, Santa daft 4 year old into the mix and things get, well interesting just isn’t quite right, I need a metaphor around nuclear fusion.

I’m running myself ragged trying to meet the needs of two girls so diametrically opposed that it should be funny. Only we can’t laugh. The eldest is horribly paranoid and will flip out believing that we are laughing at her. The little one is so excited that if we start laughing you know she is going to join in. I’m confident that she is going to prove that the scene in Mary Poppins where Dick Van Dyke has tea on the ceiling is possible. There is enough DIY to do around here without having to repaint the ceilings after scraping over excited children off them.

So while it will always be the most wonderful time of the year, please excuse me if I don’t look full of the joys of the season, I’m spent. But I absolutely mean it when I say that I hope you have a magically marvellous Christmas and that 2019 is happy and healthy.

Emotional Continence

I wear my heart on my sleeve. Obviously not literally, I like mad jewellery but that would be pushing even my boundaries. I’m trying to say that I’m not really capable of hiding what I’m feeling.

As the name of this blog suggests, I am the proud owner of an impressively witchy cackle. When I’m excited I squeak. I kid you not, like a slightly broken guinea pig and don’t be mucky I didn’t mean that kind of excited! If I’m passionate and enthusiastic about something I will be loud and hold on to all breakables I’m the terrifying combination of clumsy and a gesticulator. Confusingly if I’m angry, tired, hormonal, sad or especially happy I will cry. Good luck tying to figure out why I’m leaking.

I’m quite happy to ride a rollercoaster with my emotions, bouncing between extremes. Admittedly, given the amount of liquid eyeliner I wear the fact that I cry most days is a little inconvenient. Well it was until that review and welcoming Kat Von D into my make up bag. I’ve digressed.

I cry most days. I also laugh multiple times every day. I’m not depressed. I have been. I didn’t cry, or laugh, or really feel anything at all. For me depression is a numb, desolate place where even my emotions are muted. My normal is running the gauntlet of lots of powerful emotions and dealing with them openly and often loudly.

It seems to be the crying that causes people the most discomfort. People know how to respond when I’m cackling, are generally too worried about breakages when I’m enthusing and when I’m excited hilarity that a grown woman has just ‘squeed’ will follow. Tears have most people stumped. It’s horrible. A good cry is a magnificent thing. The palpable release of tension. A signpost for those people who care that you need them. But much more than all of this we need the tears to really feel the laughs.

Life is never going to be all about those belly clutching, ‘I think I might have just peed a bit’ laughs. In order to truly and better appreciate them there needs to be an opposite. The mascara ruining, multiple hankie, blotchy faced sob session.

I believe that in embracing the snotty sobbing we expand our range. Enabling us to reach headier heights of happiness. And if you need some suggestions here are just a few of the things that have made me greet.

  • When the cake I bought was pastry with cinnamon and not enriched dough and cinnamon.
  • Charity adverts.
  • G and the girls finding loads of fly agaric toadstools when I couldn’t go for a walk because of my stupid ankle.
  • If I think about Flash for too long. Flash was my cat, he had to be put down in 2015.
  • Bad haircut. Ok, several bad haircuts.
  • Part way through a massage.
  • During a stupid fight with g over a hedge.
  • Some nights when I tidy up my duvet dancing girls. Eternally grateful that we get to tidy up sleeping children.
  • Almost every book I read.