When the alarm went off at 7am this morning I was so tired I cried. Getting out of bed, I felt as if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. In actuality, I was pinned to my pillow by my three children. I'd done all I could to get them down in their own beds.
They'd had a warm bath with lavender and chamomile bubbles, followed by a gentle rub with a warm towel and then a massage with Neals Yard oil. I tucked them into bed like a stern matron tucks in a patient, hospital corners, and all so tight they were unable to turn.
I switched on twinkling fairy lights, lit the sandalwood oil burner and read books while simultaneously rubbing their backs, then finished off with a relaxing playlist on Spotify. This heady concoction of sleep aids, teamed with the fact I don't get any sleep had me drifting off like a baby (not one of mine obvs). I was woken by the girls jumping up and down on the bed screaming Harry Potter spells at one another ‘Avacado Kavado’.
So I finally made it to the cinema on Friday to see the New Star Wars film, the Force Awakens. We booked a sofa at the Duke of York, Komedia. I was impressed until I found out they did not sell pick ‘n’ mix or popcorn. How can you enjoy a film without picking half popped-corn out your teeth and then slurping on Seven-Up to rehydrate your salty mouth? Luckily the lead character Rey, played by relatively unknown actress Daisy Ridley made it all worthwhile.
So I am finally home from Centreparks.
I thought I was so clever, going miles away to a cheaper resort. Of course I never took the cost of fuel into account, or the weather warnings.
It took nine hours to get to Cumbria. My Sat-Nav kept suggesting routes that avoided traffic but ended in a no entry signs due to the horrendous floods. The Harry Potter audible story had ended. The children were killing "We wish you a Merry Christmas”.
I’d admitted eye-spy was a rubbish game three hours back, after feeble protests from me that it was "education and fun".
So Christmas has been and gone. The recycling van is creaking with mountains of toy packaging, wrapping paper and glass bottles. Browning Christmas trees lie in puddles on the pavements, gasping for air like flapping fish laying on canal banks, their majestic glory long forgotten.
In hindsight maybe they would have preferred the chipper to this slow ungracious death. Baubles, wreaths and tinsel are replaced by restrictions, reductions and resolutions. I love the optimism of the first week of January. Hope, determination and short-lived optimism rises inside us, like a Phoenix from a pile of ashes.
It has been been an unusual week. My aunt, and my grandmother passed away within twelve hours of one another. My already small family has taken a great hit. I had never seen someone battle with cancer before my aunt was diagnosed earlier this year. She was stoic, but not being able to eat takes it toll. She lost the weight that she'd wanted to shed for years, and then some. I remember her making the best roast dinners as a kid. Piles of vegetables so high, I could not see my brother's faces across the table, which at the time suited me fine.