It’s only bloody Christmas Eve! Can you believe it? I’m not ashamed to say that in the Cook household, we have been feeling particularly festive for ages! Starting from mid-November (some years it’s been late October, I shit you not..!!) the tree goes up and the Phil Spector Christmas CD is put on loop. (I’ve literally just found out that he’s a murderer…we’ll have the Smurfs Christmas Party on next year!!) We tend to use Katie as an excuse for our festive zeal but this is an honest blog so I’ll admit to turning into a giant child the moment Christmas cards appear in the shops. I love everything about the holidays. (apart from the kids being off school…no-one likes that) I love how everyone looks more attractive under the mistletoe, I love how it becomes more acceptable to drink wine at 1 O’Clock in the afternoon if you put it in a Christmas mug. People are cheerful (falsely, but hey, I don’t expect miracles) the winter air is always fresher and I can sniff tinsel in public without people thinking I’m a complete loon – I’m a sucker for the smell of tinsel, it’s like crack to me.
Mistletoe and wine. Lots of wine…
We even have Christmas toilet paper. It’s nutmeg scented so my lady bits are as festive as I am…
Here’s me with an afternoon Christmas mug of wine:
During the festive period, you can also make children behave with a simple “Santa’s listening!!” Oddly, I’m grateful for Katie’s learning disability in a way, only as she still believes in Father Christmas. It really is very sweet. But that’s not why I love it so much. If she’s misbehaving, from around early November onwards, mum and I need only crack out ‘’Santa can hear you!’’ and she instantly becomes cuter than Shirley Temple. A few weeks back she went through a phase of being a total shit. She shouted, moaned, cried, hit, huffed and grumped her way through an entire week and my mum completely lost her tether and shouted “You know what Katie? Santa doesn’t exist. It’s been mummy all along! You’ve been so naughty that you don’t deserve any presents!” Now, any other child would have cried at those words. Not Katie. This is a child that has survived 9 operations; she’s more resilient than Chuck Norris. For real. She STILL believes in Santa. At 21, her absolute faith in something that brings her joy is unwavering. That’s pretty special. My nan used to berate my mum for keeping up the illusion, but if a girl who has little quality of life can find solace in a fictitious yet ever present figure, why discourage it? I remember the time I found out Santa didn’t exist. An 8 year old Katie had spent 3 months in hospital. She’d had her birthday in the October and Christmas rolled around and she was still no better. In fact, the January after would be when we’d be told to take her home to die. So we took Christmas-in-a-box to the hospital. She’d woken up to presents at the foot of her bed; pumped full of anti convulsants (that were slowly poisoning her to death – more on that later) hands and feet punctured and tissuing from countless IV’s and being fed through a tube she exclaimed with all the triumph of a well child: ‘He’s been!’ I was 9 and I saw Katie’s reply from Santa on her bedside table. It was in my mum’s handwriting. Now, I was a very logical child (I’d read Moby Dick at 6 and wrote letters to the Tooth Fairy asking her to explain the finer points of magical aeronautics…pretentious doesn’t cover it!) and I knew right away that the whole thing was a farce. I was crushed. Katie has had a life wracked with pain and disappointment, to destroy her tiny bit of pure happiness would be unthinkable. She can be such a ballache but she really is one hell of a special kid and I love her unconditionally for it.
Christmas time is very special. For me, it’s a time not just for receiving new gifts but a time for appreciating the ones you already have. I’ve had some very close calls with the two most important people in my life. I can’t count the times I’ve been told that I was about to lose them both. Christmas is a celebration of life, the lives of our loved ones. We should appreciate that a year has passed and we’re all still together, for we know not what the New Year is going to dump on us . (In my case, probably a lot more shit scooping and rolling around the living room floor during a night of brandy and the Steve Merchant Hello Ladies DVD I’ve asked Santa for… ) It’s bittersweet that the most wonderful, loving and jolly time of year falls during the coldest month in the calendar. I stole that from The One Show. It’s a metaphor. Lap it up…
Wow. That was pretty poignant! Here, watch a video of Karl Pilkington explaining Christmas to lighten the mood…you’re welcome
Christmas for carers can be very difficult. You don’t really have time off, sometimes the person you care for falls ill / becomes difficult to handle etc. but we just smile and carry on. I sup up, pull a cracker and listen to dirty Christmas Carols to brighten the tone (and to lower it, naturally :p) If you can put all your struggles and grievances aside for one day out of the year and truly appreciate life, even if you have more difficulties than Bob Geldof has trying to get a snog under the mistletoe, then you really have embodied true Christmas spirit.
We used the ‘Elf Yourself’ app, as we do every year, and the results are hilarious. Obviously my mum and Katie have mobility issues so seeing them leaping and dancing around like crazies makes my day! Have a look:
I’m going to sign off for the year now as tonight mum and I will be playing Santa. I’m a little disappointed that Katie wants to leave St. Nick a glass of soya milk and not a glass of brandy / wine / cosmo / mojito (all in the Christmas booze cabinet) because “he needs to lose some weight.” Bugger. Mum can drink that then..! So from my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas, however you are spending it. I wish you all the best for 2012.
See you next year!!