This year we celebrated making it to Christmas Eve without tears, though sometimes I was brought almost to tears by the lack of them. We celebrated a good Christmas at work, which we managed on 3 members of staff (two of them us) and which was positive for us and our customers and the future, we celebrated looking forward to a scant few days of time together and enjoying the company of the children we used to be with all the time and are now so often busy in other parts of the town to us. We miss them, miss our family time, treasure it. There will be less of it this Xmas than sometimes, which makes it all the more special. In the run up to Christmas we held them all the tighter as we discovered they had brushed closer to a danger we would have avoided had we known and shuddered as we asked questions to ensure they were as safe, well and innocent as we believed. We celebrated a year of living almost normally, without terror, grief or disaster being the foremost emotion, even though we know all too well that some of those things may come knocking again all too soon.
Most of all, I realised as we got closer, this was the first year for many where, even amongst the rush and busy, I was able to acknowledge the coming of Christmas and the passing of days without total misery. I don’t do well at the hype and silly music and merciless retail opportunism, but I did craft an advent calendar, which seems as close to acknowledging Christmas as I’ve come for a while.
I need to think about how this was the Christmas that ‘didn’t’ have Freddie in it – because it didn’t – and I’m not sure by what route I reached that place.
And it was the year before the madness of excitement sets in next year, where difference and wonder captured a little heart and caused him to be thrilled. He learned to say “ho ho ho!” when he saw Santa this year. Next year, he will talk about presents.
It was a good Christmas Eve.