Suddenly I am surrounded by family, with a large number of little girls all fizzing like champagne, or maybe it just feels like a large number of little girls because they are in constant motion from dawn to the point of parental collapse. Thank goodness for long walks and puddles. And today, on Christmas Eve, we walked them well. The littlest one set off in pale pink and was returned looking like we had dipped her in milk chocolate. Happy, filthy, rosy cheeked and with two new nonsense songs in their music banks.
For this combination of family, celebrations last 3 days, 3 nights. Today is Swedish Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas Christmas and the day after is one granddaughter’s birthday. By the 27th we will all need a big sleep for sure. I remember the last time we had this three day feast and fun, when four of my five kids came to the island, Africa not permitting. I wonder, even now, at my foresight in arranging this. Did I know somehow it was to be the last for himself? Perhaps. By then he was faltering, unable to tolerate the noisy little girls for long, struggling to eat much or to swallow. But, he joined in when he could and for short periods, preferring to sit at home alone in his own chair listening to radio 4 or watching something on his laptop. This will be the second Christmas without him and it is a relief he is gone, if I am honest. He was a poor thing by the end and it was kind of Death to gather him into such gentle arms.
I wish you all a wonderful, happy Christmas. Don’t miss a moment with every family member you are lucky enough to have nearby. Nothing else matters. Nothing at all.