Papa and I spend our whole year planning Christmas. We love everything about it and always have. Papa has always gone a bit over the top for Christmas and when we were first married, we would argue over it a bit. I was worried that he was spoiling the kids too much. As the years have gone by, I have slowly joined in with his enthusiastic festive spirit. You see, he doesn't have many happy Christmas memories as a child, in fact he has none, so he has made up for his lost Christmases as a child, by making sure ours are magical.
Papa spent his first Christmas with me and my Family back in 1988. It was the year Cliff Richard's 'Mistletoe & Wine reached number one in the charts, Phil Collins 'Buster' was the years top movie and Kylie & Jason an item (or were they?). That was the year Papa fell in love with my Family. He loved my Mum's house and how hectic, noisy and fun it always was. My Mum was one of the most disorganised people I've ever known, but she really knew how to open up her house and feed people, not just with food but with her warmth.
(Mum Christmas 1990)
My childhood Christmases were very different from Papa's. I come from a large family and my Mum's house was the focal point. Our home was an open house and many people would pass through our doors over the Festive Season. My Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends would all visit and Mum's kitchen was never short of mince pies, tea and hospitality. Everyone was always welcome at Patsy's house.
We always spent every Christmas with my Mum and five Brothers and when she died in 2006 Christmas just didn't feel the same. For about three years after her death I struggled to organise our festivities, because I'd always done it with Mum before.
These days, things are much easier, in fact this is the first year since we lost her that I didn't feel like bursting into tears as I put the tree up. So I guess its true, time does heal. I still yearn, to have her at my Christmas table but it doesn't feel as painful as it once did.
When I think of her as I raise my glass, I feel sad for her because since my Nan's death we discovered that some people that my Mum once adored, have turned out to be not who she thought they were and they certainly did not deserve her adoration. I guess she knows this now, so when I raise my glass to Mum this Christmas I forget those who do not deserve our love, but instead think of our Christmas table of the years gone by. Grandad sitting at the head with Nan, all my Brothers messing around and pulling crackers, while Mum frantically dishes up Christmas dinner.
Happy Christmas Mum, We miss you x