Once upon a time in a land far far away there was a young family living a life like many others. And like many families they helped out extended family as “family” often does. Just that on this one occasion that meant having a much loved cuckoo in the home and the wee children felt pushed aside. Mummy and Daddy tried their best but there was never enough time, and this addition to their lives and home was very needy. Mummy and Daddy were sad that their own young children smiled the smile of so many young children: “We understand completely and we agree – but we still feel left out, we still want our home and Mummy and Daddy back again.”
Eventually it was time for this big cuckoo in the nest to move on again. And with much love and happy sadness the whole family hugged and kissed the big one as they left for somewhere close by. And even though they now had their own home and Mummy and Daddy back, the four children had lost a lot of that year which they would never have back.
So Mummy and Daddy had an idea.
And one normal sunny school morning in October, instead of getting dressed for school and playgroup, for work and getting the day started – Mummy and Daddy suggested they all have a Christmas. A “Practice Christmas” with decorations, presents, a (pretend) Christmas dinner and games … and time.
All the time in the world for four very precious and very loved wee children. To have Mummy and Daddy all to themselves in a very very special way.
The children were excited and delighted and confused and jumping about with joy. They all found decorations to make the house glittery and sparkly, made a big pot plant the Christmas tree, kept all the curtains shut and the doors locked, found gifts that could be presents they would have given if the could have given, spent the day playing games without the television turned on once just like real Christmas, had Christmas nibbles and Christmas dinner even though it wasn’t anything like real Christmas dinner, and all had the best time ever becoming the family they always were and always would be.
And even though everyone remembered that very special day for the rest of their lives – not one of the children mentioned it to their friends for a very long time. They were too embarrassed as young children are. This is a true story.
PS – Each of us have new stuff to work through right now . Yet all of us are connected together even better than family in some cases. Mrs Paul and I were the Mummy and Daddy in my story. We had our own “lockdown” that day. We chose to have our own lockdown that day. We kept the doors locked, ignored the door bell, didn’t answer the phone (after telling school and work that we had all come down with a “24 hour family “bug””). We pretended with commitment that it was Christmas!
So much so that it is a day our family have written with laughter and pride and love into our own family’s history.
I hope we can each write this time – lockdown, fire-breaks, restrictions, questions, vaccines and questions, conditions and vaccines and questions – always more questions than answers – into our own family histories. Not as a bad time that never seemed to end, but as a time of love and joy, peace and contentment, hope and always unconditional love for ourselves as well as those we love near and far.
Just think – without Rona and all these unanswered questions I wouldn’t even be writing these words this morning!