Friday, 27 December 2013
The Generation Game
Going over to Northern Ireland before Christmas can be a right old rigmarole, and everyone's exhausted by the time we get back home, but I'm so glad we go. Most of my family and my husband's live there, and the kids wouldn't see much of their grandparents if we didn't do a trip or two. My Mum's pretty much the only one who can travel to England now and I'm really aware of that. Over the last few years they've all slowed down considerably - hard to ignore, as much as I'd like to - there've been illnesses and operations, and the once unimaginable thought of them not being around creeps up on me more often. So, going over means a lot - quality time, and lovely moments like this one of the youngest playing draughts with her Grandpa.
I think I'm less intolerant too: of the tendency to dither, the lack of haste and the entrenched views. My previously prickly relationship with my strong-minded mother-in-law has mellowed - she still won't take no for answer and still tries to ply us with mountains of food in her insistent Mrs Doyle-esque way (aw, go on!) - but now I just agree, and go with it; and I do the cooking because it's a bit too much for her with all of us. My new challenge is to work through a jam-packed fridge and half a freezer in two days..
And I love that she'll sit and watch a whole Arsenal match on telly so she can have a well informed team chat with the eldest. More than I'd do.
We had a bumpy trip back, only hours before the seriously bad weather set in and the ferries were cancelled. Really good to be home, but I'd been so focussed on getting things ready for the trip that nothing had been done for Christmas day. I mean no wrapping, No Nothing... At least we had Christmas Eve, but it was one of those days that just slip through your fingers if you know what I mean - though I made myself stop for a second to watch the 6 year old carefully arrange a table of treats for FC and the reindeers.
Lovely, relaxing Christmas day in comparison - my abiding memory will be sticking teeny tiny stickers on minute Sylvanian groceries...