It’s that time of year again when we put up the Christmas decorations. The Boss brought down the 2 boxes from the loft that we’d packed up carefully 11 months ago. We 5 settled into our annual decorating traditions: I hauled out as much mess as I physically could to make space for the tree and madly washed the windows and net curtains; The Boss blinked at all the mess and studiously tweaked every bulb in the light strings; the minxes paused briefly for breath then dived headlong into the boxes, shrieking, tearing, shaking, pulling, crushing, breaking.
As usual, I tried not to yell at them. As usual, I tried not to get stressy at them putting the tree decorations wherever they wanted (50 on one branch, 3 on the other side). As usual that lasted no more than 15 seconds. Midi Minx was banished to the living room on a Time Out within 3 minutes. Mini was physically restrained from chomping the plastic tree. Maxi made a beeline for the most delicate and glitter-shedding home-made decorations from last year and got yelled at as a cloud of golden glitter wafted up my nose and settled in my lungs. Again. (Well, it’s really not fun to cough out gold shiny stuff; it plays havoc with my teeth).
I don’t even dream of having a chocolate-box family as in the adverts. You know the kind: all dreamily smiling, passing ornaments to each other with a tinkling laugh and throbbing eyes, shiny clean house in the background, Christmas muzak playing, as the snow falls… Yuck. Barf. Probably all stoned out their minds. Give me my noisy, messy, riotous family anytime. The family who learned to pull Christmas crackers when one sister tried to snatch the cracker from another. The family who shake out the hand-made tatty snowflakes and bashed, crushed paper chains from the poly bag that they’ve been smudged into all year and drape any surviving ones over the tree. The family who’re still young enough to believe whole-heartedly in Santa, for perhaps the last year, now that Maxi’s 6? The family who’re still innocent enough to ask Santa for chocolate oranges, a fairy wand and a wooden recorder, again probably for the last year ever.
My kids drive me bonkers often (why can’t you come with adjustable volume controls?! And ears which are permanently switched to ‘on’? Then
I’d we’d all be so much happier!) But this year I’m so painfully aware that they’re growing up quickly and won’t be little children for much longer. Christmas will always be fun (and noisy, smelly and chaotic) but it won’t be the same when one or more minxes no longer Believe.