With the exception of a few stray bits of tinsel still wrapped around the side of Kitty’s bed, and the twinkle lights glimmering away across the top of the curtain rail, Christmas is all tidied away. The decorations are in their boxes, the Christmas tree has been evicted into the garden in a shower of needles and straggles of tinsel, and our ever so slightly soggy door wreath is drying off before being packed away for next year.
I’m off to work today in a suit rendered ever so slightly snug by an abundance of mince pies, the girls are back at nursery with stories of new toys, candlelight and singing, and even H, who popped into work for a day last week, considers this the true end of the holidays.
It’s going to feel so strange being back into the daily grind. I love Christmas every year, but this year the chance to let the world shrink down to our four walls was just irresistible. It’s not that we’ve been hibernating exactly; we’ve been out and about to see family and friends, Dad came to visit, we scuttled up to Yorkshire for a few days with H’s immediate and extended family, and we spent a lovely day visiting Elma’s godmother, including a stroll around the park at Blenheim Palace, I think it’s more a question of focus, of all of us instinctively turning inwards to find and reconnect to our little family unit.
For the last couple of weeks it’s almost as if I was back on maternity leave again; the pattern of our days relaxed so quickly into that familiar rhythm, without the pressures and the hustle of a work day morning.
And of course we had H home with us too. Even though he had to work a few more days than me, it’s been wonderful being together, letting the girls have the chance to clamber all over their Daddy and to spend utterly unpressured time together. H and Kitty built her new Lego, and he and Elma chased light up bouncy balls up and down the lounge to her very evident and squealing delight, and occasionally I even caught sight of my husband through the maze of tiny girls!
All too soon this Christmas will be a memory, a fragile recollection of happy times, in the midst of a grey, damp and dragging winter, and our attention will be taken up with new work projects, the latest in a series of pinkest of pink paintings, or something new and shiny in the sensory toy basket, but I couldn’t let this holiday pass without saying that despite the impressive lack of sleep all round, despite the arrival of five new teeth for Elma, despite Elma’s insistent squeak that “not-Mummy” is not an acceptable substitute for Mummy, despite sniffles, despite a lovely three year old sometimes struggling with the change in routine, this has been a lovely, wonderful, treasured time.
We have celebrated with joy and love and that cannot be bettered.