Christmas memories

20131226-003155.jpgWell there’s another Christmas Day over.
Children and grandchildren returned to their own homes
Still enough food in the fridge to feed an army
House looking a little like a bomb has been dropped
Another trove of memories to bank
And as I sit here alone, smiling about the day, memories of other Christmases spring to mind

Christmas Day when I was 5 years old. And being in hospital having my appendix removed. Santa visited the ward and bought me a knitting bag…it’s still packed away somewhere.
I think it was then I decided I wanted to be a nurse

Christmas as a child in a strict catholic home. No opening presents first thing. Boiled eggs for breakfast, unless you were old enough to take communion, in which case you didn’t eat until after mass.
And hopping from one foot to the other as mum and dad dawdled outside the church talking, when all you wanted to do was get home and open your presents.

My first Christmas away from home, when I’d begun my nurse training. I was working Christmas and Boxing Day. It was a day I’ll never forget. Two events that remain etched in my memory. My first encounter with death. Something not usual in the Orthopaedic hospital I was working in. A lovely gentleman who collapsed and died in the bathroom, while I ran his bath
Then P was admitted. A 25 year old man who had been working on his car, getting it ready for it’s MOT. The jack failed, and the car collapsed on him, fracturing his spine and severing his spinal cord, leaving him paralysed from the neck down. The sound of his cries stayed with me for a long time

Christmas at ‘First Love’s ‘ parents house. Where I thought I’d stepped back in time to the Victorian age as the ‘menfolk’ retired to the front room for brandy and cigars, while the women were left in the kitchen to clean up. And how I caused horror and consternation by joining the men for a cigarette and to watch TOTP! I have written about this before. Needless to say it did not endear me to his parents!

My first Christmas as a married woman. Looking forward to cooking our first Christmas dinner. We’d declined invitations from both sets of parents. I was on night duty, so was determined to have a great day… …only to discover OH had taken pity on a ‘poor farmer’ who’d knocked on the door at 8am to say he’d forgotten to get a turkey….. So OH sold him ours!!! There was nothing else to eat, so had to go cap in hand to the In laws and beg lunch!!

The first Christmas with our darling daughter, who I thought I would never have. She was 6 months old, and had enough toys to open her own toy shop! She certainly had no idea what was going on… And her favourite thing was a large cardboard box that she spent most of the day sat in!! But the wonder on her face at the twinkly lights on the tree were a joy to see

The Christmas just before son 1 was born . I was large and ungainly. K was 5 and not at all complimentary! The only photos of me were ones she had taken, and she’d not got my head in as she didn’t want anyone knowing that ‘the fat lady’ was her mummy!

The many Christmas Eves at the hospital when we had carol singing in the evening . All the doctors, wives, and children would come in. The nurses wore their capes with pride, and we’d walk through the whole hospital , taking request from patients and visitors. Ward lights were turned off and the atmosphere was moving and emotional. Afterwards we’d gather in a day room for mince pies,mulled wine (before the no alcohol policy), and coffee. There would be presents under the tree for all the doctor’s children….. All bought and wrapped by Matron
Stockings were put out for the patients, and Night Sister played Santa
Then on Christmas Day. There was always bacon and eggs for breakfast if you were on duty. When I became Ward Sister, and then Matron .. It was my pleasure to take in the goodies for brekkie. Staff would dress up as fairies, elves. and Santas , and it was always great fun
At lunch time the senior GP would come in and carve the turkey
Sadly these lovely traditions have died out. No more Carol singing on Christmas Eve. No more proper turkeys for Christmas lunch. No fancy dress. No GP coming in to carve and serve lunch

The first Christmas after I had made contact with my birth mother, and the phone call from her first thing in the morning to wish me a Happy Christmas

There are others, but it sort of brings me back to today . And a house full of happy, laughing children … Young and old
The sheer excitement on the grandson’s faces as they see that Santa has delivered presents here for them as well
Master Chef taking over the kitchen, and producing an amazing meal.
SIL alternating between snoozing on the sofa and tweeting!
Son 1 and fiancée discussing how next year they’ll be married
K almost asleep on her feet from the late night, waiting for the boys to fall asleep, and then the very early start

And my heart soars

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