I have had a phone call from Teressa this morning and just as I expected they won’t be here before 3pm. Adam thought she would arrive before lunchtime but I know what she is like when she gets together with her brother and step brothers, she confirmed that the alcohol ran free and the hang over is pinning all of them to the floor. I’m actually really glad that she does want to spend time with them all, considering how messed up all of their childhoods were, for them to become adults and want to be a family is amazing. I can’t imagine that come here and sitting talking mainly rubbish for several hours is exactly exciting, it’s not as thought we could all go out and do something, we can’t even go out for a meal, all that coming to seem me has to offer is well myself and Adam, some more food and some more booze. We always used to do things together, Teressa coming to see me was a huge occasion and I saved up so that we could have a really good day out, something that meant the day was special for all. The closest I have had to a normal family, with her as an adult, where the six months she spent here in Glasgow, when Adam and I married. We didn’t have a spare room for her but she moved into what had been my old home for the previous 7 years, rent free. It was then that like most families we spent time together without the extra sparkle the occasional visits somehow require.
We all put so much into the time we have with those we love, especially when we can’t just pop round for coffee and visits are separated my months not days, that a false nervous build up always appears. You just want it to be all perfect, to show them the best of your life not the worst or even the reality, you want them to see that life is beyond OK. The emotional investment is huge especially when the financial ones can’t be, throwing money at a day always adds sparkle, throwing emotions at a day always brings tension and the huge possibility of disappointment, especially when you are a perfectionist. I don’t know why, but I have always held an image in my mind of family life being chocolate box perfect, with a huge dash of TV add fantasy. I guess it comes from the first few years of my life, when my Grandfather was still alive and the family ran around him as if he were god. What I saw were Aunts and Uncles, cousins everywhere even with several removes in their way and people with more Greats attached than I ever managed to get right. So many people that I hadn’t the slightest chance of even remembering their names, but Christmas was filled with them, all brought gifts and everything was piled under the Christmas tree in the ballroom. I was too young to know or understand that my grandfather was a tyrant and once dead every Aunt, every uncle and every cousin were never seen again. My heart felt image of family is huge, noisy and loving, even if it was all false, it’s the image that tells me what family is, unfortunately reality doesn’t stand a chance. Even without Christmas, I want to show my little girl that her Mother is happy and that I will welcome her and give her the best and most that I can. I know that I am far from the only person who especially as this time of year build up something in their minds that just won’t work out the way they want. In fact I don’t think that from my first adult Christmas, right through to the last full Christmas we did, did any of them actually come close to what I thought it was all about.There is only one Christmas that came close to the magic I keep looking for and it was the strangest Christmas of all. Teressa’s and Christopher’s father was at see, so it was just the three of us and father Christmas of course. I didn’t get to sleep until 4am Christmas morning, I though putting 2 bikes together would be simple, so tired beyond belief with kids running on hyper all day and a dinner that no one wanted to eat. The whole day was magical for one reason and one reason only, two little children who not only saw magic in everything, but where so happy and so excited by every present they unwrapped, that their energy carried all of us through that day.
I seem to have drifted away this morning from what I was really writing about, through out my life family has changed a million times, now I actually know who my family are and what each of them mean to me. We all want everything perfect for them, even those of us who are not perfectionist, but for me their is an extra pressure, I know that my time in their company is limited and I guess that is what has pulled me into this position. Memories don’t just have to be good for all of us, they have to have that touch of something special, with love and happiness filling them all. I guess we can all learn something from the child’s eye view of both Christmas and family, they don’t see the tensions in the gathering, they see just the people who they believe all feel the same as they do, all have come together for one reason, to share the wonder and magic of the day and to celebrate that togetherness. It’s not easy but but letting go of all the rest, well it will make your time together, just that bit better.