When you’ve got children, Christmas is chaos. When you’ve got four, it’s bedlam and when you’ve got my children….it’s a whole new level of crazy!!! But I think that it’s finally safe to say we survived it, although my house shall never be the same again, and now as the madness subsides we have officially declared Christmas 2015 as our best Christmas ever!!
Admittedly, the build up to Christmas was hectic, stressful and exhausting. We had weeks of Christmas parties, visits to Santa, nativities, Christmas carols, family gatherings, the palaver of decorating the house and twenty four nights of that pesky elf!!
I spent weeks traipsing around ten different shopping centres to find a Baby Annabell sleeping bag that Meggy just had to have, days trawling the internet for price comparison websites so that the children wouldn’t go disappointed and hours agonising over the perfect gifts for family members, for Gaz and the children. I ordered, returned and re-ordered countless presents, spent far too much time stood at the post office depot waiting to claim my parcels and battled it out in numerous supermarkets to nab the last turkey, selection box, chocolate yule log.
By Christmas Eve I was officially exhausted, so much so that I ended up at the doctors with a throat infection, and I was seriously wondering how we would ever get everything done. After the last frantic moments of tidying and cleaning, wrapping last minute presents, preparing the Christmas Eve box and prepping the Christmas dinner, it was the biggest relief when we could finally sit down and know that our work here was done!!
This year, despite Lewis being far too old to even humour us where Santa was concerned, the girls were very much aware of what was happening and ridiculously excited about every aspect. They were verging on hysterical when the elf returned to the north pole and left them a present in return and were bouncing off the walls by bedtime as we left Father Christmas a mince pie, a glass of milk and, rather un-traditionally, some beer! And after a brief meltdown over the lack of a carrot for Rudolph, which someone had used the last of, Nanna had raced over to save the day and the children went up to bed without a single argument for the first time this year.
And hours later, when all four children were fast asleep and dreaming of the morning…..Father Christmas came!!!!!
When Lewis came into our room at seven thirty, a firm non-believer but desperate to know if “he” had been, we had to wake up the youngest three who were still oblivious in their beds. And as we all crept down the stairs, bleary eyed and butterflies in our tummies, we opened up the door and they all cried out, “He’s been!!!!”
And there began the most frenzied, chaotic, flurry of paper, presents and squeals of absolute delight. And at that moment, sat there in my lounge surrounded by my beautiful children, by chaos, mayhem and an ear-piercing level of excitement, it was everything that I had imagined our Christmas would be.
I don’t think that you can ever describe that feeling of seeing your childrens faces on Christmas morning, it is a feeling like no other. If my heart could have exploded with happiness and love, then I would have spontaneously combusted right there and then. If I could bottle that feeling and keep it forever, there would never be a sad day or a negative thought in my head. It is quite simply the most magical, heart-warming, up-lifting feeling in all the world.
I am the first to admit that my children are well and truly spoiled at Christmas, not just by us but by friends and family too, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have waited for such a long time for our babies, been through more than our fair share of heartache, and Christmas day is our time to say thank you, even just for one day, for making our life so amazing every second of every day.
After battling with boxes, batteries, screwdrivers and toys which had been surgically attached to their packaging, we faced the mammoth task of preparing dinner for nine!! And although I won’t lie and tell you that it was still piping hot when it was placed on the table, or that my kitchen didn’t look like a bomb had just gone off, or even that my children tucked in and enjoyed every last mouthful…..overall, it was a success!! And it was so lovely to look around our dinner table to see my family, my brother and my parents, and know how very lucky we are to be celebrating yet another Christmas together. Ultimately, that is all that matters.
Our Christmas day was hectic, Boxing day the same. A never ending cycle of games, toys, food and drink. Whilst Harry remained his usual chilled out self, and Lewis split the time between here and his Dads house, the girls were very much a source of amusement for us all. They have been doctors, they’ve been hairdressers, they’ve been Mummy’s, Daddy’s and babies. We’ve played Hungry Hippos, Buckaroo, Pop up Pirates, Elefun and Operation. We have gorged on chocolate, sweets, meats, cheese and biscuits. And we have laughed and smiled and enjoyed every single moment.
And on Christmas night, when I tucked my children up into their beds, seeing the look of happiness on their faces reminded me of why I do this every year, why I run myself into the ground to guarantee that their Christmas is as special as it can be. Because it is absolutely worth it, every bit of stress, every ache and pain, every panic, every queue, every penny….it is totally and utterly worth it.
And later, when I dragged myself off to bed, the house utter carnage, my stomach so full I may burst, feeling more tired than I ever thought possible, I lay there and I thought of my Joseph, who for the tenth year running was missing from our family. I imagined the chaos of five children, of seeing Lewis and Joseph race off to play their new computer games, to hear the sound of their laughter from the back room, to see his missing face at our dinner table that day. I imagined what it would be like, what life would be like, without this constant ache in my heart, what it would feel like to know that I had all of my babies safe in my arms.
We have truly had the most amazing Christmas as a family of six and yet it should have been, and always will be, a family of seven.
I hope that you have all had the most wonderful Christmas and for those missing a loved one this year, you have been in my thoughts.