It’s the last day of December and I think I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve been trying to put into words how I felt about this month for the past few days and I can’t quite put my finger on what I want to say.
I think what I mean to say is this. The past few weeks, I have given myself a break. The run-up to Christmas was not easy, and I really needed to just empty my mind a bit and kick back.
I’ve tried not to think too much, to relax with my little ones, to chill out with my family, to do fun things with friends, to walk on the moors and to break the rules a little.
I’ve drunk a fair bit of Marlborough Sauvignon, let the kids eat dinner in the lounge, let them stay up late, eat chocolate for breakfast and run wild a little more than usual.
I have hardy picked up my camera in the past few weeks, and now I’m trying to choose a family photo for this post I really wish I had. The pictures on this post are taken on my iPhone so they are a little grainy, the light is far from perfect, but they are us all the same. They are Sam, Flo and I in our natural habitat – the lounge, as it has been for the past few weeks, where like most families we have been hibernating a bit over the Christmas period.
Last year I was dreading Christmas. It was the first one since Roger had died and I knew it would be hard. It’s all the build-up that’s so difficult. Even though we all know in the real world family Christmases aren’t always perfect, it seems that way when your own dreams have been broken. Everywhere you look there are happy families, happy couples, deciding how to spend their time together, what presents to buy each other, how to spend their time off in each others’ company.
If that sounds bitter then I don’t mean it to; it was like that for me once. Roger wasn’t the biggest fan of Christmas but he did love it so much more when Sam came along. We made our own family traditions, like going to the Christmas concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic every year, following it up with a nice meal out together, like our little family Christmas do.
We were pretty low key, but we were truly happy. Without those things to look forward to life just can feel so lonely, and however much I try to push those thoughts away they always come back.
It’s coming up to 18 months since my husband died and things haven’t really got easier, I suppose I’ve just got better at hiding it. So much has changed in this year though that I can honesty look back and see how far we have come.
We have moved from Wirral to West Yorkshire. Moved house from the coast to the moors; the kids have started at new schools and I am working from a different office. Although the house I bought is fairly new and low maintenance, I’ve spent a lot of time redecorating parts of it, finding furniture to fit, sorting out the ever-present storage problem, and in November and December, transforming the semi-converted garage on the side to a fully insulated, functional playroom.
That led to most of December being lived in a house where furniture was in the wrong place; you couldn’t sit round the dinner table properly as the tumble dryer was in the way; you couldn’t open the lounge blinds as two cupboards were pushed up into the bay. The weekend before Christmas though, the room was complete and it was such a relief to get the house back to normal and start using that extra space as it was intended.
Just to be able to regain the lounge, put up a tree and make space for visitors again was such a joy, and I’ve really enjoyed spending time in the house in its new form. I’ll be posting an update on that work with some ‘after’ pictures in the next few weeks.
Anyway back to this Christmas. I found the weeks leading up to it hard, but I survived. I had Christmas Day at home with Sam, Flo and my parents, and it was really lovely. Knowing that I could survive a Christmas – and even enjoy it – without Rog really helped and the dread of the day wasn’t there in the same was as it was last year. The looks on the kids’ faces when they opened their presents was just lovely, and all that pre-Christmas Barbie house stress vanished as soon as the wrapping paper came off!
Now it’s New Year’s Eve, and I can’t say I’m not feeling anxious. For about the past five years I have stayed in and been asleep for midnight, not really wanting to celebrate or look ahead.
This year might be different, although I still haven’t decided if I am up for going out and celebrating or not. Either way though, like Christmas I think this New Year will be easier than the last, and I may even start not to dread the year coming up.
I have plans for 2017 already, the year I turn 40 (eek!) and so maybe in January I will have time to think things through more and look forward to the year ahead.
For now, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone for reading my blog this year and to my friends and family for supporting me through this huge period of change.
Happy New Year, and much love, light and happiness to you,
This post is linked up with the Me and Mine project – hosted by Dear Beautiful, Bump to Baby, Capture By Lucy, Let’s Talk Mommy, Mummy Daddy Me and Tigerlilly Quinn – where you take a photograph a month of your family all together.