Some Christmases kind of sneak up on you and whack you about the head when you least expect it. Other Christmases can be carefully planned down to the finest detail, and still whack you about the head with unexpected occurrences. This year it was a bit of both.
My mum has been saying for years that she won't hold Christmas at her place any more, so last year I insisted we hold Christmas lunch at my place to save her the trouble, and it went off quite well. This year though, my mum insisted that it be at her home for the last time.
I forgot how stressed she can get. I think deep down there's a part of her that likes the stress - that likes to get all het up, and hot under the collar because it makes her feel that what she is doing is important, that she is making a difference. I think it's also part of her martyr complex that makes her want to make a drama out of everything.
This year there was almost a dog fight and a chewed up cat; there was also some not so nice things said by one individual; some last minute guests that weren't confirmed until fifteen minutes before the lunch was due to start; and some general fussing and crankiness that seems to go hand-in-hand with Christmas get-togethers - or does that occur just in my family?
It was nice to be able to spend time with mum and my stepfather and to catch up with some of the relatives, but frankly it was nice to get back home to my own comfort zone where the arguing and crankiness is kept to a bare minimum.
Actually, the drive back was quite eventful as we had to stop in three spots when there was flooding over the road, so it took about half an hour longer than it usually does. We had the pets in the car with us so they were starting to get a little restless by the time we made it back into town. Then after we dumped everything off, we took off for a drive around to see the local flooding and get some photos.
It's been a Christmas similar to many before. I'm afraid though that this may be the last one I share with my older brother (see earlier entry about my brother's illness), and my mum has been in quite poor health in the last year or so as well.
So while I may not always recall my family Christmases times as the most enjoyable events in history, at least I got to spend time with family that won't be around forever.