Star stuck over the holidays

This blog has been in process for nearly 3 weeks. I have felt the need to put things down and just reflect but also can’t quite remove myself from the constant buzz of things and it all has been punctuated by little whispers of drawing me back to whats important. I wish I was better at putting down my phone, and also just stopping and moving away from the noise and the clutter. Partly I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I love the busyness, but it also makes me nervous and desperate for an exit plan.

I am not sure if this is making much sense but here is the last few weeks;

Its mid December and I feel already behind…I am busy, but my to-do list is endlessly growing not shrinking.

I am responding in classic Christmas craze response, instead of slowing down I am ramping up. I am eating and drinking in haste…and usually things that hit the spot quicker. Think my 3 wise pals, the unholy trinity that is; caffeine, sugar and alcohol. I become a bit like an ant on speed, frantic and slightly derailed from my mission because…well don’t the lights look shiny?

I keep hearing of friends that have to isolate either because they have Covid, or have been in contact with someone. It spurs me on to get more things done; cards posted, shopping picked up, presents in check. But I also feel like I want to stop already. One friend has taken to walking around her garden to get some space and fresh air…I realise I haven’t walked around our garden in ages.

Friends and family have started to take their kids out of childcare so they can isolate pre Christmas bubbling with family. We aren’t doing this because we are just having Christmas on our own, but this is another time I have worried that maybe we have not handled this the best. Should we be doing more? My toddler wants to write in all her Christmas cards ‘when the virus is over please can you come around and play’. This is so depressing. Should she know so much? There are also ridiculously wonderful times; a nativity trail at our local community gardens, our church providing amazing craft packs, wonder walks and videos for the kids. It is always a rollercoaster, maybe I am just noticing it a bit more this year.

My new job is making me feel all the feelings, because it is not just a job-it is something I believe in, with a great group of people, and I hope will make a real difference-I am also scared. Is this my life now? No longer mainly identified as raising 2 small ones but also now my time and attention is split over this as well as my family and friends. It feels scary, my anxiety is through the roof especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I keep thinking should I be teaching my kids how to dial 999…they probably wouldn’t understand how to even use the phone if its not FaceTime or a whatsApp call. Do the emergency services use Whatsapp? I have a chest x-ray, its all fine…and as quickly as it came, it has calmed down. Which is both reassuring and also unnerving because when will it return?

Christmas has been cancelled, or at least limited. Well not really for us because we are at home. Some of our friends bubble with each other for the day, no-one asks us and I get sad about it. Man alive, I wish I wasn’t so bothered about this stuff, I am not 15. I am like a teenager with my emotions, and with my thoughts on what I and everybody else should be doing, I judge people for being knobs and then I equally desire to be that knobbish myself. And yes, I am sure Knobbish is a word-if its not it should be. I am also so aware of how lucky we are that because my parents have provided childcare we have seen them recently. Also, we have always wanted to try Christmas at home. I hear of friends who are stuck in their houses, without their wider families-it is rubbish. We keep doing the thank you candle, keep reminding ourselves and the girls of how fortunate we are-also I get into the habit of telling them that if they waste their food and cause too much rubbish, the earth gets sick and polar bears die. Its a hard line but it has some success. No, I don’t want feedback on my parenting style.

Our toddler has started seeing life as a Disney storyline thanks to the Disney advent calender and her recent obsession with Christmas movies. This is fine except her association of Christmas means gifts is a strong one now, also she regularly changes her name to a princess one and we are scolded if we don’t keep up. The little one keeps trying to climb the tree and take down every ornament.

The house is piles of things on every surface; unfinished cards, fir cones we have yet to spray, wrapping paper, candy canes and sweet treats, and glitter is everywhere. It is kind of cool, kind of nauseating. A photo memory on my phone reminds me of how I use to occasionally straighten my hair, put on makeup and wear lovely things…I don’t even do it for an occasion anymore. I really need to buy a decent concealer, and also we need better storage.

Its our anniversary…Dec 23rd…we go in to a restaurant for lunch, which feels strange but also nice. We managed to do this in the few days Bristol was in Tier 2. We also get some last minute Christmas things and some vitamin supplements. It is raining but its nice to just be the two of us. I wish I had made myself look a bit better…we both admire the teapots and prosecco glasses in the restaurant-I take a photo of them to remind me later. What the hell have I become? Also I obviously haven’t bought them yet…so now they are just added to the random stock photos I have saved on my phone.

Christmas eve I go for a swim, it is brilliant (except I smash my phone). Ah well.

Christmas Day. Is really lovely, because we got to do the things that work well for us as a family and just remember there is lots of good stuff all around us-A bit like the film ‘Love actually’ except no dancing PM, no stand in body doubles acting out sex scenes, nor any-kind-of-gathering-because-of-C19, and no sugarbabes backing track to the really tense scene, or Joni Mitchell to Emma Thompson being heartbroken and so beautiful all at the same time.

And here we are, the end of the year. Lots of people, including me, are feeling worn down by life. We have been looking for beacons of hope and have often sought comfort in traditional markers-the seasons changing, festivals the end of the year. We have been looking for guidance, a star that could lead us into better times. But instead we feel like we are still stuck. Maybe we can visualise a better time but it seems out of reach, clouded by a lot of loss, disappointment and fear?

Well this is a happy post.

But the star may not be moving but it is there…there is hope, it is in our relationships, in our laughter, in the sunshine or the moonshine, it is in ugly crying with gulps of air at the hardness of life, it is in the crunch of frosty leaves under foot, it is in the brushing of teeth and the minty toothpaste taste that creeps over your breath, it is pushing toy cars very fast along the floor, or playing solitaire with your own pack of cards, it is reading about Narnia, Bramley Hedge, Hogwarts or Matilda. It is in the loving; the sneaky bum squeeze when your other half is making coffee, the laughing with your friend on the phone until you snort tea, the sight of your parents after a long time, the stroking of a pet as it nestles up on your lap, the feeling of being heard, being held.

It is in the being, the doing, the living.

The star we seek is in all of us…it reflects the whole, the divine.

Rare "Christmas Star" of December 2020 Brings Hope

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