Happy New year to you all
After a very rocky start to the school Christmas holidays with Beeswax and a distinctive lack of therapeutic mummy juice for a few days, I don’t mind admitting that this year we have yet again managed to get through the Christmas chaos almost strop & meltdown free – hey if it had been absolutely perfect I would have thought we had entered an alternative universe or my boys had been replaced by perfectly engineered clones.
At this time of year I always feel guilty because Bumble and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy being with our boys and sharing in the Christmas magic, unlike several adoptive and fostering families I know who find this time of the year painful and stressful.
But if it wasn’t for the boy’s biological grandparents, while they were still living within the birth family, always making sure that Christmas was a very special time for the boys with lots of wonderful traditions and keeping the continuity of this on both the paternal and maternal side, this post would probably be written in an entirely different tone. As the result the boys have very special memories of the Christmas time and because several of the traditions that were used within the birth family are traditions that both Bumble and I grew up with, we have kept those traditions going.
I have to say my favourite has to be Christmas Eve: The boys eagerly opening their present from “Santa’s elves” of new PJs, slippers and dressing gown. Watching Beeswax allow himself to join the excitement and helping his little brother spread the ‘reindeer food’ outdoors and put out the goodies for the impending visit of Santa (“for Buzzbee’s sake of course”). I then love watching all 3 of my boys all snuggled up in their new bedclothes and their mugs of hot chocolate, listening to Bumble reading ‘Twas the night before christmas” while I hide nearby with a cluster of bells ready to ring them at just the right time, and then having to fight back the tears when watching Buzz getting so excited as he races to bed because he doesn’t want Santa to find him awake (the only night during the year he goes to bed without a delay tactics in sight).
This year we took the brave decision to take the boy’s to my parents’ for Christmas and so have the boys wake up at my parents’ on Christmas morning. I had absolutely no idea whether it was going to be a success or a disaster, but Bumble and I were both confident that my parents would work with us and not against us to make the stay as endurable enjoyable for all involved as possible and if it turned out that it was just not working for the boys, we could return home without anyone feeling like it had been ruined. As it was my parents excelled themselves and managed to strike the right balance for all (including my 86 year old Nan) and Christmas day was not only calm and pleasant, but also full of fun and frivolity – the boys found great hilarity in watching mum and I battle with a 14 year old spaniel and Beedog to stop them unwrapping all the presents before they had even been handed out. How many homes do you know that put their presents behind a fireguard to stop the dog unwrapping the presents before the children?
Boxing day I thought the boys would have found more difficult, with my sister and her family coming over, but, to our delight, Buzzbee and Beeswax were absolutely fantastic and it was my sister’s three children who were causing all the chaos throughout the day, even poor Beedog found it too much by lunchtime and found a sheltered, quiet corner to hide in (and for a dog who lives with the chaos of my two day in day out, you can imagine she usually has a high threshold for madness). My parents were so impressed with how great the boys had been and told both boys this, and in an attempt to “have a go at this reflective stuff” as my dad put it, he went one step further and said “I know that you two don’t like lots of people being around or lots of noise – unless you are making it but it was so crazy today and I was wondering if the reason you both were being so good today was because you were trying to hold it together because you knew Nanny wanted today to be a really nice day and you didn’t want her to be upset?”. To which Beeswax responded very quickly “Usually I would say you were right Granddad but personally I didn’t need to play up, try to control everything or generally be a pain. Buttercup, Thistle and Nettle (cousins) were causing enough madness that Buzzbee and I could sit back and relax for the day”. (Cue, Mum spitting out her mouthful of tea laughing).
Just when you think you know how the boys will respond. They continue to surprise us, and this one was priceless (and in all honesty completely on the nose).
Looking back over the Christmas session and all that the boys have managed to achieve during this time of year, and knowing how blessed we are to have the opportunity to really enjoy spending time with the boys without all the drama, you would think that I would be over the moon but as I am writing this instead of joy, I am feeling quite overwhelmed with sadness and for once I would give anything not to understand why I am suddenly feeling so morose. I am ashamed to say that it is a very selfish feeling.
For a short few days each year, I feel like I have the family I always dreamt of and it feels wonderful. Beeswax relaxes and doesn’t respond to me as if I were public enemy No.1. He and Buzzbee can be in the same room as each other without setting each other off or Bumble and I feeling the need to ‘divide and conquer’. Bumble and I don’t end up bickering about the most menial and pathetic things because we have let the stress of parenting our adopted, traumatised boys overwhelm us (and so many more lovely moments that we rarely see during the year).
Okay some of this is just normal family life (if there was ever such a thing as a ‘normal’ family) and please never misunderstand me. I am grateful for my family and I love Bumble and my boys dearly but I just wish sometimes that the rest of the year didn’t have to always feel like we are trapped on a hamster wheel of trauma and fighting, and seemingly getting nowhere at all.
See I told you it was selfish. I would like to say it is just Post Christmas blues but I know that it is so much more than that and it is time that I take the ‘bull by the horns’ and address it once and for all.
Enough of that! I don’t want to end this post on a ‘downer’ and with this in mind. I want to end this post with a picture of Bumble and the boys enjoying so ‘boys time’ on the ice.
Ice, Ice baby