Well, it’s all over for another year. The rubbish bin is full of wrapping paper, the refrigerator is full of leftovers and the house seems eerily quiet. I have to say though, that this was one of the nicest Christmases I’ve ever had.
I didn’t get a lot of presents - P and I had decided beforehand that we both wanted ‘non-wrappable presents’ (a year’s membership of SCBWI for me). But the children really seemed to be happy with what they got and Christmas Day was a great family day. For the first time ever, we had it as just a family of five. Normally we go to a big family get-together for P’s family or mine. This year P’s family were mostly going to their in-laws and my sisters were too, so we decided to stay home and have a quiet Christmas lunch together.
That’s not to say we didn’t do anything with the extended family. Boxing Day brought the onslaught. I’ve just spent two weeks scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming and de-spidering my house, because this year was my turn for my family's gathering. Just because they all went to in-laws on Christmas Day, didn’t mean they weren’t going to get together. Mum, Dad, three sisters, brother and all but one nieces and nephews (and one girlfriend) expecting to come and share lunch. But I only realised that two weeks ago, so it was a mad panic.
I have to admit that I am not the world’s greatest housewife. In fact I'm abysmal! I hate cleaning. I hate cooking. You can spend hours doing both and see both undone in five minutes. My mother used to tear her hair out trying to make me clean my room, to no avail. So I'm a bit the opposite way with my kids, figuring I'd rather they were messy and happy than tidy and hen-pecked. But I do like to have it spick and span for lots of visitors. Hence, this five-yearly turn at hosting the family Christmas gathering is quite an event for me.
I was decidedly frazzled by the time we went to Mass on Christmas Eve and I was glad of the quiet on Christmas Day. But the twenty-two of us had a great time in the end, despite the 44C heat. There were no major catastrophes, if you don’t count the bowl of fruit salad all over the kitchen floor and the raspberry jelly walked up the hallway. Everyone went home looking happy.
It was my eldest sister who really made my day though. She sat next to me during lunch and said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I haven’t seen your house looking so clean and tidy for a long time. You must have really worked hard over the last two weeks.” From anyone else that might have offended me, but from her I took it exactly as she meant it – words of appreciation. That’s something you don’t often get for housework.
Now the question is, how long will it stay this way? Not long, going off the kitchen table, now covered with Barbie and her clothes and pretty horse
(no remote control car, though), and the DVD boxes on the floor near the TV. Mum the Grouch is going to have to stay around a little longer…