wings and things

Christmas Eve’s eve

Well, it’s the day before Christmas Eve and I am finally ready to be festive. My rather blah mood was transformed into enthusiasm after having breakfast with my mother the other day because we went shopping together and I found some things that I hope Ming will love even though he ruled that it should be a strict 3-gifts-per-person Christmas. Unfortunately I take great pleasure in breaking Ming’s rules so there are now 20 presents under the new little Christmas tree he bought. I thought that was a good number since he is still (until January) 20 years old.

Oh how I miss the pillowcase years (a habit inherited from my parents in which an empty pillowcase was placed at the end of each of our beds and on Christmas morning would be filled, rather miraculously, with presents). Up until just a few years ago, I would send Ants and Ming to bed and would spend the late hours of Christmas Eve wrapping presents and putting them into an identical pillowcase (just in case Ming woke up). Then I would go to bed but wake up at around 4am to swap the empty pillowcase with the full-of-presents pillowcase. Alas, those exciting, magical days are long gone. Last year we didn’t even ‘do’ Christmas because we were too sad about this and that and, until a few days ago, I felt the echo of that sadness and an inability to be bothered.

Then, all of a sudden, a wave of hyperactive nostalgia hit me and I was filled with the energy of what Christmas really means – the birth of something/someone miraculously new – a Jesus moment, the memory of when Ming was born, a newfound excitement about seeing Anthony every today, so ….

…. I decorated Anthony’s nursing home room and sticky-taped old and new Christmas cards on his mirrors and pictures, draped the clock with tinsel, decorated the rose tree I bought him the other week, that looks real, with baubles and wrapped Ming’s presents in his room. You see, we are having Christmas in the nursing home this year; it will be the first year that he hasn’t been home for Christmas and it wasn’t until yesterday that Anthony realised this.

Ants: I’m a bit taken aback.
Me: Why? What’s wrong?
Ants: I thought it would be at Bythorne (the name of our farm).
Me: Are you kidding? It’s too hot and the flies are terrible out there! Anyway I like it here better! Don’t argue!
Ants (smiling at my sternness): Okay, you win.

Today I will wrap Anthony’s presents in his room while I face him towards the window so he won’t see; then I’ll sticky tape more cards around his room, then we’ll have a small glass of champagne together with a bit of mango (a great combination I discovered the other day).

Tomorrow night, various members of the family who can make it, will meet at my mother’s place for the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, Harvard beets (my mother’s specialty) etc. but I won’t tell Ants about this because it would be impossible for him to join us now that he is so incapacitated physically.

Then, on Christmas morning, Ming and I will open our presents to each other, saving a few to take into the nursing home at around 10am where my mother will join us at noon for my crayfish cocktail and some champagne. At 3pm I will head off to the dementia wing for my afternoon shift, Ming and my mother will go home, and at 6pm I will go back to Ants’ room to say goodnight.

A ‘Jesus moment’ – over and over and over again.