Christmas Eve 2014.
Today the kids and I went to the cinema. Well it was a pretty wet dreich day so a few hours in a dark dry and warm cinema seemed like a plan. We popped into see my folks briefly beforehand to say happy Christmas Eve and the kids were filled with sheer joy when I suggested for quickness that we get Subway rolls and eat them there. Honestly when I say sheer joy that isn’t an exaggeration. Only wish I had thought of that for tomorrow – kidding! I would of course have opted for the meal deals. We had our subs then headed for the bus, made the film in just enough time, took our seats and settled down. The kids has chosen ‘Annie’. To me the original was bad enough but a remake?! Anyway it was ok -ish and I even shed a tear but I am the woman that since becoming a mum could cry at the opening of an envelope so I wouldn’t use my emotional reaction as a gauge to how good the film was. When it finished I was to “hand the kids over” on London Road to their dad as it’s his year to have them overnight on Christmas Eve. That’ll be fine I thought. We did this two years ago. It’ll be quite nice to have the eve to myself. Maybe get a take away, watch a film, possibly start the evening off with a large Bloody Mary or three then crack open the red wine and bring in Christmas with the watch night service and some port. Christmas Day as the kids are not with me till late afternoon I can sleep late, get up have a special breakfast, watch some tv, maybe have a long bath with a large G and T or three, crack open the Cava by midday, possibly vodka mid afternoon then once they have arrived along with my mum and dad get stuck into the red over dinner etc etc etc. However, I am sure there is a flaw in my plan. Oh yes. Of course.
So the three of us walked down in the lashing rain, me in the middle flanked by two little people. A little boy on my left and a littler girl on my right, holding on to their hands so tight that they always ask me to let go a little but the traffic is so busy along there and well as the poor people of Glasgow know only too well anything could happen. We saw the flash of a car light and their dad getting out and shouting over to them so we crossed the road and we said our goodbyes. All was fine. All was calm. I’d get home and have my wee Christmas party to myself. I kissed and hugged them and told them to get to sleep early so Santa could do his job and I would call in the morning and see them in the afternoon when they would have even more presents to open. They waved goodbye shouting ‘ Love you mummy!’ me shouting ‘ I love you!’ back. I watched until the car lights disappeared around the bend, I put my hood up and walked in the direction of home and then it came – a tsunami of tears. I was completely on my own and this year for the first time in my adult life I was completely sober and would continue to be so. I was feeling the grief of not having my children with me and grief for the old me. Now that I am writing this it seems stupid to feel grief for an “old” me. I am still me but I suppose no matter how I thrive on my bah humbug attitude to Christmas it affects me in the sense that another year is coming to a close and as the adage goes – Time stops for no man. As I walked along in the rain I had a huge longing to drink. I thought of that 187ml bottle in the house that I received as a gift last week but knew I couldn’t just have that. I know for sure that if I was to drink that it would not be enough for me. It would be harder to stick only with that than it is to completely abstain. There it is! I know that if I was to taste it and feel that warm, fuzzy, intoxicating euphoria that small bottle of white wine would bring me it wouldn’t end there. It couldn’t end there. It would need to be more.
This will be my first alcohol free Christmas in my adult life. Even in 2006 when I was almost 6 months pregnant I had a couple of drinks. That was due to the shock of Nana ending up in hospital with a fractured pelvis which happened as she was leaving our house on Christmas night and tripped over the doorstep. Not one of my top ten Christmases. Even when pregnant my instinct was to knock back two large dark rums. I don’t think I give myself enough credit as to what I am achieving. Yes it can be difficult and brings up a lot of stuff for me but I know and feel that it is most definitely the right kind of difficult and the right kind of stuff. I might be here on my own but I am happier and more content with me theses days. Being kinder to myself is helping me make the meaningful relationships in my life stronger, happier and even more fulfilling. I would rather be where I am now than be getting ready to have an untruthful, unfulfilling, detrimental Christmas lying to myself and everyone else through a bottomless glass of delusion.
If anything- this will be one Christmas I intend not to forget.
Happy Christmas Eve xx
Ps 267 days