The flurry of Christmas is soon upon us. It is at our house this year and we are having 13 people over for Christmas dinner. Dad’s time with us will soon be over and we busy ourselves shopping, buying Christmas presents for everyone. I want this Christmas to be special. It is the first in our new house and the last with the family as we know it. Next year, we will have a little baby in our midst and a new Christmas will be borne for our family. I have not felt very Christmassy since Mom died, but I am feeling a little more cheerful this year, although the warmth of Christmas has still not fired up in my heart to full strength.
All I can think of is the baby and I search for things that it might need. I manage to buy two gorgeous baby body suits from Zazzle. One has a picture of a heart on it – one half of it as the American flag and the other half as the UK flag. The other bodysuit is a he says/she says body suit – he says diaper, she says nappy – you get what I mean. Em is half American on his mother’s side and lived for 11 years in St Lois, although his accent is devoutly Australian. Jay is British through and through although she was born in South Africa. I know the kids will love it. I manage to buy Em a mug and matching coaster with the emblem of his favourite team, the St Lois Cardinals. I hope he will like them.
Christmas day arrives. Dee’s sister and her family have spent the night, but Jay has spent the night with Em and his family. It is an arrangement we made at Jay’s birthday in September. They get her for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day breakfast and we get her for Christmas Day dinner. I feel like Jay is some token being passed around, but know this is a sign of the times to come. This is the circle of life after all. Jay is breaking away from our tribe and forming her own. I cannot deny that I feel a sense of loss at this, but am also grateful that her new tribe is one that is so welcoming and warm.
Christmas morning is busy. The two patriarchs, dad and Dee’s dad, cook us a hearty breakfast which we enjoy in the alfresco area near the pool. It is warm and we enjoy our meal – a full English breakfast, befitting of an English family whose dad runs and English B&B.
I busy myself with the cooking of the Christmas Dinner – turkey, ham and all the trimmings. “What time is Jay getting here?” dad asks.
“I don’t know Dad. Around 4pm I think.”
“That’s a bit late, isn’t it?”
“Well, they are having to see all of Em’s family before they get to us. You know how it goes, Dad.” Dad nods.
“We never had that problem being in South Africa.” I remember it well. We had no family in South Africa being English immigrants of the 1970s. Our Christmasses were spent all alone, just the five of us. Now we celebrate Christmas as a large family gathering. Fun, but at times I do miss the quieter times.
Just as I am about to finish dishing up, Jay and Em arrive. Jay looks well. At 12 weeks pregnant, she is largely over her morning sickness and I notice a hint of a bulge on her once size 8 tummy. Her breasts have definitely got bigger, although I am not sure I am meant to be noticing such things. I am happy she is with us and giver her a warm hug. It is good that Em is joining us too. He puts their stuff in the spare room as they have agreed to spend the night with us. I feel happy that our family is complete.
We enjoy a beautiful meal which everyone agrees is a lovely end to the day – lots of toasts are made. Opening our gifts is great fun. Of course, Jay and Em have received the lions share – new pots and pans, cutlery, crockery and a fair few items for the baby. They absolutely love the Zazzle items. We finish the day by watching all the DVDs that we have all received as Christmas presents. I scan around the lounge with us all crammed onto the settee and feel the warmth that once used to dwell in my heart at Christmas time rising up inside of me. Em is stroking Jay’s tummy with such tenderness and affection. It is so obvious that he adores her. Even JC is sitting with us instead of being in his own lounge. He has actually taken to Em quite well.
This is my family, and my family is about to get bigger, and better.