Still on the subject of Love, I find myself in a wee panic as I suddenly realise how close we have come to Christmas. In the olden days when all my chicks lived under the same roof, it was comparatively simple in that I knew exactly what they wanted and did my best to find it. Christmas lists were read and laid to one side as they usually contained expensive new toys, noticed in other’s homes or found in television adverts, and quite out of the pocket-question for us. Now they are grown and gone, parents most of them, and I have no idea what they want. Even buying for their little ones throws me. I know them, in that I would indentify them in in a crowd, but what little ones want and like and, most importantly, what their parents will accept or allow leaves me standing quite still and staring out the window, my mind a scummy blank.
Clothes. They all have a zillion clothes, from chic inter-familial hand-me-downs to outfits bought by a parent who knows that this one can’t wear nylon mix, another goes red in the face above a tight polo neck, yet another adores Peppa Pig, Lightning McQueen or Angry Birds and that’s three different little ones. And which has just lengthened by a few inches, or grown larger feet? Toys, from my recent check online at either incredibly expensive six times over or offering total rubbish that needs batteries they don’t even bother to supply.
What I find now, as I have always found, is that strange arisal of guilt inside me. It is called Chrispepsia, a word sandwich merging Christmas and Dyspepsia. I want to give…….. no, to show by my gift, that nobody is more important than another. I have never succeeded, not once. Somebody is always disappointed.
When I buy a gift, I buy what I think they would absolutely adore and am surprised when they don’t adore it at all, never mind absolutely. Hence, a list. But there is a part of me that doesn’t want to be given a list, but who wants to surprise. When I overhear an adult asking a child ‘So what is Santa bringing you this Christmas’, I inwardly tut, especially when the answer is An X Box, or a Mountain Bike. Don’t they know there is only one Santa and a vast world-full of children? We surely don’t expect the old chap to set off multiple times because he cannot fit onto his sleigh more than one or two bikes at a time, do we? And how does a mother explain to her child who only got a few trinkets, some nuts and a tangerine in his stocking, that Santa doesn’t have favourites, when one schoolmate got an X Box and another, a Mountain Bike?
I have said, until the room falls asleep yawning, that Christmas is a time for giving, not getting, but it is clear to me that nobody paid the slightest attention. So, back to Chrispepsia. I’m right in the thick of it now and as lost as ever I was. In the past I have made things, things that undoubtedly fell apart by February, but nobody said. This year I haven’t made a thing, other than an impact on a lot of readers of Island Wife which doesn’t get me out of Chrispepsia.
There are forward looking folk who will already have wrapped and labelled all their gifts, planned their festive dinner, and may well be considering erecting their Christmas Tree. These goodly people have a clear head, strong decision-making powers. They don’t fanny about with the ditherers, whereas I am right in their midst. And, even when I have decided, bought and labelled each gift, I still feel unsure. On the day, as they begin to open it, I want a big hole to swallow me up. I don’t think they feel any concerns at all. It is just me and my Chrispepsia.
I have worked out, after a bunch of hours staring through windows, that I must measure my love in a material gift. The fact that I give in so many other ways during the year before, and after this great day, disappears like smoke in a westerly gale. And yet, my chicks and their chicks know how I show my love. I show it in actions, in written words at times of trouble, in spontaneous acts of random kindness, in patience, understanding, acceptance. I walk it. Any distance, any time. And I always always will.
So, you big twit, what’s the problem? You can just turn up, bring wine and cake, plasters and patience, fun and nonsense, ideas and iodine. Bring your hands for holding, for easing pain, for cooking supper. Bring your voice to encourage, sing, talk things through; your imagination for games or to develop a conversation; your skills to help, to share a burden, to celebrate another, to lift spirits.
Ok so I’m the gift for Christmas then?
Yes you are……..we all are…….plus the odd trinket of course.