I think I’ve been listening to daughter one philosophising too much of late. I’m beginning to question the notion of time because at the moment I feel we are treading water, at the mercy of events and waiting for the next wave to hit, rather than using time in a positive way to consider how to confront the wave.
Time is, of course, relative. I look at only son and for him the future is his post-Steve role as a Roman census taker in the Christmas play whereas I am thinking what kind of world he will face when he leaves school.
There’s this weird thing going on where the world seems to be falling apart, but things are chuntering along as normal. Black Friday, Christmas plays, daughter one talking about university. I’m not sure if I believe in that normal world any more, but I really want to. So I’m trying to focus on everyday work, thinking about Christmas, imagining what on Earth a Roman census taker would have worn, celebrating being welcomed back to the Talk Talk “family” after two months adrift with another nameless provider who got everything wrong and helping daughter three create her dad’s Christmas hunt.
On Saturday, I went round the shops with daughter three and we’ve come up with some good gifts for the hunt. Her dad will seek out a small Christmas-themed present for every day of December leading up to the 25th. My partner is not a Christmas person. Indeed he is more or less against any card-related event.
Daughter three’s response is to bombard him into a festive mood. It’s a gallant attempt. I’m not sure it will succeed, but she was up till 10pm wrapping up on Saturday. She has also been researching Christmas forests where you can find all manner of Christmas trees. “We’ve never been to a Christmas forest,” she said, eyes widening. “It will be very Christmassy,” she said. She has sent me three emails about Christmas presents. All she wants is tea. “I just like the lead-up to Christmas,” she says. Her room is a tribute to Christmas. It has gingerbread-scented candles, stars, lights, the works. She has been wearing her Christmas jumper to sleep in for weeks and has lined up a slew of Christmas films to watch on Christmas 24. She is a one-girl Yuletide celebration.
I think she is partly trying to compensate for world events. That and the fact that the last few weeks have been difficult in our household. My dad has had three different operations and we have spent a lot of time in different hospitals. It would take a lot out of anyone, let alone someone who is 76. He lives abroad and this weekend we went to see him before he heads off again. He’s much more mobile than he was even a week ago, but three operations have taken their toll.
It gets more and more difficult to say goodbye to people when you get older. Like in politics these days, you just don’t know what is going to happen next. All you do know is that the general prognosis does not look good.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.