This post was supposed to be about chocolate truffles, brandy butter and a cashew and mushroom loaf. But life got in the way, and I ran out of motivation. Get up, get girls up, get girl one to school, girl two into the bus, get medical supplies, get shopping, get home. Encourage builders whilst seething inside about the fact that they still haven't finished and won't now finish before that mythical date "the spring". Unload shopping, run out of energy before putting it all away. Feed girl number two, ride the big red bus into town to pick up forgotten supplies, come home again. Receive girl number one off her bus, feed both girls, praise the builders for their progress, wave them off, put the girls to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.
There's a party at school tomorrow. Father Christmas is coming, the girls could go for Christmas Dinner. Mog will enjoy it. Little Fish will miss it - I would have to accompany her and the diary is full for tomorrow. It's Goldy's birthday - she would have been 19. I was hoping to have the day to myself. Instead we will have builders, cleaner, Goldy's grandparents are coming down to collect some equipment and need directions to the cemetery, other relatives may want to talk, I have photos to collect; time to reflect has been crowded out by the mundane. Perhaps this is a good thing; I'm not sure. What I do know is that the world doesn't just stop for my convenience. I wouldn't mind a bit of a pause though.
I don't know if I am more concerned that people will know it is Goldy's birthday or that they won't. Her birthday has always been drowned in Christmas parties. Last year we celebrated twice, once two months early in Disney World, and once with a Christmas party at the children's hospice. The hospice she wasn't entitled to attend, because she had average life expectancy.
I always sent a cake into school or college with her; usually a cheesecake since most of her classmates couldn't chew. This year I found the perfect little gifts for her to give her classmates back in July, ordered them and they've been sitting in a box ever since. Mog and Little Fish took them to nursery instead. Goldy would have loved them - little tiny LED candles which could be switched on and off by blowing. One of Goldy's favourite songs was about blowing candles out - not Happy Birthday although she did like that one too.
Goldy never minded sharing her birthday with Christmas; as far as she was concerned the whole thing was one whole long birthday celebration. Every Christmas party had Happy Birthday sung - people used to think she was being very religious; she wasn't, she was singing it to herself. She didn't care about presents or possessions; she did care that there was chocolate cake and pizza and ice cream and a crowd of people to sing with her. Gifts were instantly tested for edibility, and then for their noise making capacity. Points for anything which made a noise when it was squeezed around the middle; treble points for anything which was a duplicate of one of her existing favourite toys. And I do mean duplicate, no variations allowed.
There's a lot of joy for this Christmas. Our first Christmas with Little Fish. I'm going to be an aunt again in the New Year, and the bump will be visiting (together with the bump's host). My cousins have just had their first baby. A friend has adopted. And let's not forget the birth of Jesus, heavenly hosts singing Alleluia, shepherds leaving their sheep, a man and a woman wondering Who they had brought into the world. Right now I'm identifying with the other mothers in Bethlehem though; the ones who didn't manage to escape to Egypt. Herod visited here this year.
Presents have been bought. Some have been given. Others are lying, wrapped or unwrapped, around the house. Cooking needs to be done. Elderly relatives need to be collected. The girls will be angels again for the carol service on Sunday, will enjoy the Christingle service on Christmas Eve.
And I won't be travelling late at night on Christmas Eve fetching Goldy from her Grandparents to come and spend Christmas with us. I won't be their "lucky guest"; their first visitor, being plied with food so that I don't steal the Christmas Spirit and take it with me when I leave. I won't be racing home along deserted motorways, listening to the Christmas Eve radio programmes, trying to be home in time to free up my parents to get to the midnight communion service. I won't be rolling Goldy out of her wheelchair and into bed, tucking her up and then throwing her Christmas clothes onto a short wash and dry cycle so that she can wear them again for her second Christmas in two days.
I know, I KNOW that she will be having an absolutely Heavenly birthday and Christmas. But I'd far rather have her here, stealing the carrots and sprouts off my plate, tipping gravy into her lap, shrieking so loudly she was in danger of being wrapped up and posted out into the garden, getting as high as a kite on chocolates and blowing out the advent candle.
So, no truffles today.