I have been micromanaging today. In the attempt to be a true Noel Goddess, I have facilitated Gingerbread House squabbling, paper chain tearing-up frenzy, lunch fallout, glittery tree decoration fritzl, a military parade of getting dressed and doing teeth which has lasted until 2.15pm. Not necessarily in that order. In this I was not alone. There were 4 other adults to the 4 children: notionally an excellent ratio.
But this of course leads to the bumping into, multiple apologizing, different ways of doing it, whether or not to say that everything comes from Father Christmas politics, Husband the Chef trying to brine the turkey without having a discussion about it, the underfoot, the underslept and the underwear all over the house.
It is only mid-afternoon, yet I am locked up with the computer, desperately hoping to find some equanimity amongst the contradictions, the crowds and the pointlessness.
What a snob I am. It hasn't felt pointless this year at all. The whole of December has involved following the shining star of my own journey towards Applepie Motherhood, with all the mince pies, shopping for gifts from us to them, from them to us, from them to each other, in a precision set of vectors making a tetrahedron of present possibilities. I have (almost) cried at nativity plays, taken reels of photos, remembered the Advent calendar every day, even if I did land in the wrong pocket one morning from sheer lack of time before the thundering hooves descended. There has been mulled wine, carolling, puppet shows, the most overpriced panettone-from-Carluccio's in the universe, there has been charitable giving, and sparing a thought and some loose change. There have been parties -- none of which I attended, apart from the one for a three year old. I have sent hundreds of cards all over the world, I have remembered my 2 Godchildren, despite not being a Christian, and it has all felt rather lovely. It even snowed, enough for a snowball fight and lots of heady anxiety about whether the trip to Norfolk would work out.
I guess this year with Beauty aged 6 and a half and the Beast aged 3 and a half, I am counting my Christmas blessings. I reckon by next year Beauty may have guessed that Santa is me. On the way somewhere, after Sinterklaas on the 6th of December, she was chatting to me about the gift he had given her, which she really liked. Indicating left, I heard myself say, "Yes I thought you'd like that ."
"What did you say mummy?"
No beat at all: "Oh, as soon as I saw it I thought what a good present Sinterklaas had chosen for you,"
"Because it's funny mummy, but for a moment I thought you meant that YOU had got the present for me!"