Saturday 24 December 2016

It’s Christmas Eve, and I have four children in bed. Not asleep yet, (and considering how hot and humid it still is I don’t know how long it will take them to fall asleep) but we’re on the way. Troy and I are watching Carols by Candlelight and he’s wrapping up my birthday present.

We had Troy’s family’s Christmas today, and despite all my ranting and raving and kind of dreading it, it was pretty good in the end. Everyone was actually on time, which was something of a Festivus miracle to be honest – in fact WE turned out to be the slackers who forgot something and had to go back home for it!

We forgot my camera, and I was nearly prepared just to let it go and use my phone (which probably takes just as good photos as I end up with on my big camera because I suck) but my camera is the only one with a tripod and a remote control function so Jean likes it for the family photo. So when we got there I didn’t even sit down, just waited til Troy had unpacked the car and then I drove back home and grabbed the camera. We did the family photo right away, before the youngest child went down for a nap and before the older children wound up with mysterious grime all over their faces, so at least it was done.

The talent show was up next, and I feel like such an old crank for complaining about it because it was really kind of fun. AND, with a legitimate outlet for showing off, Steve used it and didn’t spend the rest of the day making speeches and telling terrible jokes, lol. Troy volunteered to emcee it, and he did a good job with introducing the acts and keeping it going. There were actually five acts in the end – Jean did a line dance, Alex played her saxophone, Jericho, Soren and Nicholai did a puppet show, Emma, Alex, Charlotte and Sophie did a dance to “I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus” and then Steve read out a poem about family that he’d written, which was really sweet. Really, I have to admit I was wrong about the whole talent show, I think it was fun and the kids loved it which is what really matters.

Besides, I took a bottle of vodka and my bottle of Kris Kringle Baileys and drank until the world was all soft and fuzzy at the edges. Nothing was bothering me, lmao. I was just blinky and happy and in love with Troy and so happy that my kids are mine. Definitely the way to get through the day!

I ate veggies and salad for lunch, and then we went round the table and did Good Thing/Bad Thing for the whole year. (For anyone who hasn’t eaten dinner with us, every night we’re at the table we go around the table and everyone has to say a good thing and a bad thing about their day. Troy and I started doing this when Nicholai was about three, in an attempt to try and make him connect with the world a little bit more. Steve and Jean picked it up when they were with us, and then introduced it to the other families while they were babysitting, who then introduced it to their parents and went on to do it regularly as well.) I can’t remember everything – Emma’s good thing was making friends in year seven and Jericho’s good thing was going on camp, and Nicholai’s bad thing was Donald Trump. My good thing was becoming a real teacher and my bad thing was not getting a Jeep, and if that doesn’t make me sound like a spoiled princess I don’t know what would.

We did presents after lunch. I was drunk enough to not really care about the shitty jokes, and taking a drink everytime they came out with another one took care of the rest. Present giving is no longer the overwhelming bonanza it used to be for Christmas there, and frankly I like it better now that it’s a lot more lowkey. Steve and Jean have switched their focus to giving each of the kids a big birthday and then doing something simple for Christmas, like giving them each a book, which is what they did today. Brett and April gave the boys kites and Emma a toiletries pack, and Adam and Susan gave them all stockings with lollies, Emma a necklace, Nicholai a metal puzzle, Jericho some quixels, and Soren a drawing book. Great Nana gives all the kids a card with $10. The kids were all happy with it. Troy got sunglasses, and I got six balls of yarn – I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I’m sure I’ll think of something!

We had dessert after presents, and I had the lemon meringue pie I made last night. The kids all took desserts, but I think Emma was actually the only one of ours who finished theirs. The boys made a valiant attempt, but all three of them stopped at various points and just looked at me and said, “I can’t do it!”

We came home fairly soon after that. The weather was horrible – really hot and humid – and we were all pretty much done. Apart from Jericho, who went down to the dam with Will and Zach, the other three were all just sitting in the living room reading their books. (And this really illustrates the reason that I have completely lost all my principles and compulsively download pirated e-books, because Nicholai got the new Matthrew Reilly book, which probably has about 400 pages in the hardback, and he’d finished it within an hour. I mean, there’s no way I can keep up with that!)

Once we got home Troy and I lay under the fan in our room while the kids played on the computer for a little while. Baths, some toast for dinner, waiting out the front for Santa to throw some lollies down from the firetruck all filled in some of the evening, and then the kids went to bed. And despite the heat and the excitement of Santa coming tomorrow, I haven’t heard a peep from them.

So all that’s left now is for Troy to go to the office and retrieve all Santa’s bounty so we can lay it out, for me to make sure the camera and the carols are ready to go in the morning, and then we’re done. Ready for another Christmas.

It occurred to me today, looking at my big teenagers, that we only have a few of these Christmases left. And time goes by so fast…even my baby isn’t anywhere close to being a baby anymore. All of this – hiding presents and going into the city for the windows and playing with the Elf on the Shelf and posting Santa letters and kids wearing Santa hats to school and making up acts for a family Christmas talent show…I’m really not ready to let it go! I have to make the most of it while I still have them all here, while we can still have one day of the year that’s magic.

 

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