This Christmas has whizzed by, embracing us in a great flurry of expectation and excitement. It was simply wonderful. My eldest little girl, Tara, was swept away by it all and simply couldn't believe her eyes when she saw what Santa Claus had brought! Sarah, who is three, was equally delighted and is still trying to work out how Santa got down the chimney, whilst Jack just toddled straight over to the new play table and exclaimed in baby delight when he saw lots of new Thomas the Tank Engine toys!
It wasn't all fun and games though - Jack took ill on Christmas Eve and spent all of Christmas Day coughing and with a temperature. At times like this I feel so glad I am still breastfeeding as I just know he would have been hospitalised otherwise. When he was nine weeks old he got bronchiolitis and was in hospital for three days. I was told then that he will be prone to it until he is about five years old, but I was congratulated on breastfeeding by the hospital staff as they said he would have been much worse had he not been breastfed. So, although I have been making half-hearted attempts at weaning him off, I am still reluctant to due to the time of year and the fact that he was so ill as a baby.
Thankfully he is much improved today, but it did dampen Christmas slightly - and now Sarah is starting to show symptoms too...
I had intended going to Mass on Christmas Eve but unfortunately, just as I was leaving the house, I realised Jack had a temperature and I was terrified to leave him. So, instead I went with Tara on Christmas morning. And it was so reminiscent of my own childhood! Mass lasted a little longer than normal and about half way through Tara looked as though she was about to cry. I pointed out the crib and baby Jesus and told her to listen to the lovely stories the priest was telling. I even encouraged her to sing along to the hymns. But to no avail! Every few minutes there was a loud sigh and a deafening whisper, "I'm bored. Is it nearly over yet?" I was soo embarrassed! But that is one of the many joys of parenthood, isn't it?
Anyway we all did very well in terms of presents this year. My favourite was a wonderful painting my husband bought for me from a local artist entitled "The Gathering" - it puts the gluttony and excesses of Christmas into perpective. It is a painting of Irish famine victims and is both beautiful and extremely haunting. Stan wasn't even sure about giving it to me as he thought I might hate it. But he was wrong. The artist explained how as he paints, faces come to him (he calls them "my people") and he places them within the painting. I am a big believer in the afterlife and spiritual goings-on so I thought this was just fascinating.
Ironically, as I considered where to hang the painting and thought I had found the ideal spot, I realised that perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to place it overlooking the kitchen table!
So the entrance hall will suffice.
As for all the presents old Santa Claus brought, I have absolutely no idea where they are going to go...