Boxing Day, for those of you back in the States, is a day for shopping (for some people – not us), relaxing with the family, watching TV and eating leftovers. Rather like the day after Thanksgiving back home, where some people go mad at the sales and some people laze around with the family in a turkey-stuffed haze. Nice day.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was very nice. We had a private Christmas Eve, with a gorgeous gammon dinner (you don’t have gammon in the States, nor bacon joints, nor any proper bacon, just that nasty streaky/fatty stuff. You have NO idea), then opening one present in front of the fire, as we shared a bottle of wine. Christmas morning we opened presents, and then went to Christmas dinner at Phil’s parents’ house. His grandparents and sister, her husband and baby Jack were all there. (I’m not a big fan of babies, generally, but he is adorable – very sunny disposition, if a big ham.) Phil got me a VERY nice 4.0 megapixel digital camera, and I got him the half-hunter pocket watch that I’d seen him eyeing, along with assorted books, clothing, chocolate, etc. Phil managed to find a copy of The Company of Wolves, which I dearly love (being such an Angela Carter fan).
Kipper was stuffed with Christmas cake, the ratties as well, and the ferrets had beef mince swimming with double cream (which probably shot straight through them with great velocity), so we were all happy. One of the ratties has been sick with that respiratory thing that they tend to get, and she is very thin. I’ve had rats get sick with this before in the States, and nothing the vet could do helped…so we decided to not force-feed this one antibiotics. She had a run on the livingroom sofa today, and sat and ate marshmallows while she watched TV as a special treat. Poor little sweetie.
I spoke to my family on the phone, and everyone sounds well. My mother can only talk for a few minutes before she gets tired (the disease that she has affects her throat and her breathing, and it stresses her to try to talk clearly enough). My sister was there from Nevada, and they were preparing the huge turkey dinner for everyone.
I really do miss Christmas at my parents’ house. It isn’t entirely nostalgia that makes it seem so perfect; it was only as I got older that I realised how much effort my mother went into to make it perfect: the weeks of baking, all of the decorations, the music, the fires roaring in the diningroom and livingroom, the massive meal, the table dressed so beautifully with candles, gold-sprayed leaves, wrapped chocolates at each plate, holly and ribbon tying the napkins…she really was superwoman. Everything from the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls that woke us in the morning with that gorgeous scent, to the drinks and hors d’oeuvres during the day…everything was perfect and I think that we all took it for granted. My mother and I had so many arguments over the years, mainly about our religious differences, I don’t think that I ever appreciated her. I discounted her because she wasn’t a career woman, but I admit that I could never do what she did. I couldn’t raise a large family the way she did, usually on a limited budget, and have us all be able to look back on our childhoods as this perfect, golden time. The ALS/MND will gradually steal her away and we will all realise what a gaping hole will be left in our family. She was the heart of our family, and was always there for us as we went out into the world. I can’t imagine her not there.
Have a wonderful holiday. Blessings on you all.