Monday, 22 December 2008
There's never enough time
I am still in a rosy glow from my visit to Melbourne. It was terrific to see my family, even though in the midst of it all I felt sad that the time was so limited.
I stayed with one of my sisters, the next after me. She has had four grandchildren this year, and now has eight. She will be the champion grandmother. I have six and probably no more to come. But my sister is the mother of five, while I had only three, so this is what can make all the difference. She has six granddaughters and two grandsons and I have 5 grandsons and only one granddaughter. We had good long conversations together, sharing many things. My sisters are very dear to me. I love my brothers, but honestly, women are just immeasurably better at relationships.
I went to Stomper's kiddie tappers concert. They were all very sweet, sometimes a bit slow to get the right steps, and were watching eagerly to see what was to happen next. I loved watching my daughter lead the children, giving them such clear instructions, and making it all so enjoyable. The place was packed with proud parents and grandparents, most of them armed with digital cameras, and snapping away there enthusiastically. I took my share too. You'd never have known that Stomper has a crook back and some nasty flu-ey germ. She performed like the proverbial real trouper. I'd like to get her to my wonderful physiotherapist in Sydney.
On Sunday the family gathered for our pre-Christmas picnic lunch. One of my brothers manages the grounds of a primary school, and we met in the grounds. No crowds, or any other problems, and lots of space for the littlies to run around in.
There were thirty nine of us. This is not the total of our three generations as there was no one from my elder sister's family, and two of my children and their kids were not there either.
We all had a great time, and it was good to see all my nieces and nephews and their increasing progeny. Families are not as large now, but I have never regretted coming from a large family, and love having all these relations. The only trouble is that it is not easy for me to keep in touch, living as I do in another state, and coping with Dr P's increasing frailty. The pre-Christmas gathering helps overcome this.
I did not have enough time with Stomper and her family, but it was a very busy weekend for her, and we were able to exchange Christmas presents. Those boys are gorgeous. I was not expecting to be able to make a trip at all, so feel lucky, and grateful to D 3 that I could get away at all. I thought I would have a light suitcase for the return trip, but I carried back all the presents for the rest of the family, to take to Canberra when I leave tomorrow. Dr P picked me up from the airport. What with all the rush of preparation, the weekend itself, and the travelling, I was in fact pretty exhausted.
Yesterday D4, her partner and two small children arrived from her overseas posting. She is still on maternity leave, but goes back to work in January. The baby is only 9 weeks old, a happy little bub who makes agreeable gurgling noises, and smiles and laughs very readily, and the two and a half year old is a little live wire, with a head of red-gold curls. It is lovely to see them, and tonight we had family dinner for ten here. While they all helped with food, it inevitably meant that I was flat out all yesterday and today, and am still totally exhausted. In the middle of all this preparation the curtain and blind installers came to put things up, and another old friend called around to see D 4 and family.
Dinner was excellent, I say humbly. (But accurately.) The beautiful sideboard was used for the first time, and looks superb. They all enjoyed the pavlova, and so they should have. Yummy.
D 4 and family leave tomorrow, and were heard to remark that one or two days staying with parents was as much as they could stand!! I understand completely, and if I may be forgiven a little aside, I did feel that when a baby is placed on a rug or a couch, it would not hurt to put a towel underneath said baby in order to catch the overflow. Dr P finds a small amount of time with his progeny goes a long way, and unfortunately for them, he is not the sort of man who finds little children very appealing. He does not want to hold or cuddle them. Although he did manage to look quite fondly at the little live wire.
Tomorrow I drive to Canberra, but my time there won't be so busy or frantic, and will be much more fun. We will combine to have a similar feast.
Dr P is not coming with me, so he will have Christmas alone, although D 1 will probably drop in to check up on his welfare. It is his choice. We have the offer of a friend's house, all on one level, and equipped for the elderly, but he will be Home Alone. I feel sad he is unable to enjoy family gatherings and festivities, but had to decide that I should be able to be with my children and grandchildren as much as possible.
Happy Christmas to all.