The Christmas holidays are here for the school-aged population, if not for the rest of us.
We are onto the holiday rota. It’s a rota of two halves. Only son and daughter one are up early – daughter one for work and only son for bouncing; daughters two and three are up around noon and only really wake up as the rest of us are beginning to fade.
Daughter two is standing in the kitchen with a yellow scarf tied around her head for no known reason and is making slime. It appears this is a post-GCSE mock relaxation technique. It is daughter one’s birthday and she is at work. She has told us that under no circumstances does she want to see us at her work [a cafe]. “I am not in favour of the work life merge. I like to keep the two entirely separate,” she said. I would like to say that this is because she wants to focus hard on work when she is at work, but I think it is mainly that she doesn’t want her sisters and mum showing her up, blowing her cool or making extensive comments about her washing-up technique.
Daughter one also does not want to be reminded that she is 19. She feels that she is almost past it. “Women have an expiration date,” she told me. “It shouldn’t be the case, but the clock is ticking.” “So my life is over then, is it?” I inquired. She replied that I was a special case, but it wasn’t very convincing. I said there was a certain freedom in invisibility. You can lurk in the shadows and make subversive comments. The only problem is whether anyone listens.
The final day of term was packed with Christmasness. Only son did a Christingle. I don’t remember Christingles being a thing when I was young, but I’ve been to a few in my time as a parent. Generally they have been fairly uneventful, but this one was mercifully short. Three songs, a few words about oranges and a vicar saying something or other about lying on Salisbury Plain with some soldiers and thinking about Jesus and we were out. Only son gave me a huge hug as if he had not seen me for a week when in fact I had dropped him off just an hour earlier. That made the Christingle worthwhile on its own because he no longer allows me to kiss him goodbye in the mornings.
The teachers looked knackered and the parents were split between those who love Christmas, those dreading two weeks of being cooped up with stir-crazy young people and those, like me, who are just looking forward to getting up a bit later and watching Elf on replay for a week, waiting for whatever comes next.