At the risk of sounding as if the Daily Blog has nothing original to say (heaven forbid) you have to admit that this has been A Christmas Like No Other.
There have, indeed, been many a wartime Christmas in the past, when families ripped apart by battles in faraway fields, have had to put on a brave face and smile as they hung up their paper chains and wrapped up presents for
little ones whose Christmas must not be spoiled, no matter what. That’s worth remembering, as we contemplate Christmas 2020, with the hope that 2021 will be a better, brighter year.
Usually at Christmas, Mr B and I manage to see all our family. Not on the same day (there are a lot of us) but at some time over the festive period. I like to say that Christmas stretches from Christmas Eve till New Year’s
Day and so long as I see all my Best Beloved at some point over those days, then I count myself a lucky woman. Some years back, when Mr B was fit and healthy, we would drive miles over Christmas, from Kent to Wales and places in between to meet up with every
family for a short time. I feel a little guilty nowadays, just thinking about how far I made my poor fella drive to fulfil my unshakeable conviction that I just had to see everybody over Christmas.
Come 2020 and none of this was possible. Christmas was decreed to be for One Day Only. What’s more, Mr B was confined to a hospital bed, not sure what day of the week it was and how he had managed to land up in hospital
in the first place. As far as he is concerned, some evil magic has been conjured up while he wasn’t looking.
Given this background, you will understand why
I wasn’t looking forward to this Christmas Day Like No Other. I admit that I indulged in several bouts of self pity, even though I know very well (as I have told you before) that self pity is Not A Good Look.
Amazingly, it turned out to be a rather splendid day. Thanks to Zoom (to whom I, and many others, will be eternally grateful) for the first day since I can remember, I actually saw every member of my family on Christmas Day.
First thing in the morning, I was summoned by mobile phone message to join the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys who were opening the presents in their Christmas sacks. “I’m just getting dressed!” I protested, to which My Boy (father of the
Welsh Boys) retorted: “If you don’t hurry up, it will all be over...”
A little later, at a more civilised time of day, I joined the Youngest
of the Darling Daughters and her family as they opened their presents, an activity accompanied by much quaffing of Prosecco. I watched the Middle Daughter preparing vegetables for Christmas Dinner amid much merry mayhem created by the Rascally Trio who were
in full Happy Christmas mode. Later still, I sat at the dinner table with the Eldest of the Darling Daughters and her family, who were taking a break between courses. Their starter (crispy duck salad involving overnight marinading among other things) had apparently
taken more preparation than the main course.
I might have feared that my own Christmas Dinner would be a solitary affair - but far from it. I was surrounded by
family members, watching my every mouthful. My Christmas cracker (one of the gifts in my Advent Box) contained the traditional paper hat but also a list of people deserving a sticker for being (i) the cutest; (ii) the youngest; (iii) the loudest; and (iv)
the tallest person on one’s left hand side. I didn’t actually have anyone on my left hand side (apart from the cardboard reindeer atop the Christmas tree) but it hardly mattered. Granddaughter Katie’s boyfriend Nathan was delighted to win
that particular award. I must remember to send him a sticker...
After morning church my friend Sue had kindly driven me to the hospital to hand in a Christmas
card for Mr B. I nearly despaired when I found Reception closed with nobody to take my card from me. Nearly in tears, I returned to the car where Sue suggested I should make my way up to the ward and hand in my card at the door. Which I did - and was
allowed to stand at the door and wave to Mr B in his bed across the room. Strictly against the rules but my very best Christmas present.
My Boy summed it up beautifully
at the end of a strangely splendid day: “I think it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to you on a Christmas Day, mum.” What a funny old world when distance actually brings us closer.
A Christmas Day Like No Other.