There are times when Christmas does not quite fulfill ones hopes of family unity and fellowship. There are times when Christmas brings you closer to those you love with all your heart.This Christmas, for me, did both.
We went to my mum's house this year. My brothers and sister were out of the country and I at first asked my mum to come to us - I would go and collect her and then take her back home ( she lives about an hour away ) This seemed an easier solution than all 4 of us going over to her place ( complete with all the trappings of Christmas )
However, my mum did not want to come to us. Instead we went to her. I was genuinely happy to do either. I just wanted her to be happy and, to be honest, I was thinking about her age ( she is 72 ) and wondering how many Christmas's we have left.Over the years I have had a spiky relationship with my mum, but recently, after a long conversation with my brother, I have been trying very hard to see life from her point of view. We have been getting along quite well and I was really looking forward to spending Christmas with her.
I won't go into too much detail here about how Christmas went. Suffice to say that if we had been at anyone elses house who spoke to us, especially to the children, as she did, we would have left. Instead we bit our tongues and gathered together, the 4 of us, in a huddle of support. Both boys cried and son #2 said that it wasn't like Christmas at all and he hated Grandma.
She smoked constantly despite the fact or perhaps because of the fact that she knows that we feel very strongly against smoking. My Man ended up relying heavily on his inhaler and his asthma is the worst its been for months.I had to wash everthing we took there as it stank of smoke.
When I looked around the room where I grew up and had so many happy times it seemed like another world, as if the stones of the fireplace where our stockings hung as children had been wiped clean of the memories of happiness. All that remains is bitterness and negativity, cigarettes and scotch.
I did not write this post immediately we came home because I have felt so angry, so hurt. I swear to you that we tried so hard to be everything she wanted us to be. I did my utmost to be happy and loving and make her Christmas a good one. I am proud that we did not resort to argument or sniping. We took her disgust in us and held hands under the table.
It drew us together, the 4 of us and made us realise how much we love each other, how important we are to each other.I will not be going there again for Christmas, and it will be a long time before I can find the strength to go there at all. I envy you if your relationship with your mum is a good one. Cherish her and enjoy being cherished.