Something special happened this Christmas back in Yorkshire. I'm trying to think how best to describe it - although we always look forward to going, there is always the usual pressure cooker of being under the same roof as many family members in a small house. Throw in some grandchildren and a hurricane of a stepmum and a misanthropic father and it usually makes long walks on the moors mandatory rather than optional just for sanity.
This year, there was some strange shift whereupon everybody somehow "found their place" - like water finding its level, everyone was just delighted to hang out in the same place with no yelling (well, not much. There is always bickering.)
Grandchildren have all grown and matured and found their personalities. Grandparents were conscious of the joy of having three generations in the house, despite my Dad's general surliness and misanthropy. Siblings are all happy this year, a combination of new jobs, new love, new beginnings. We sat for nights round the wood burning stove with wine, tea and chocolate brazils (thanks Frank) and the grandkids clearly witnessed for the first time and got a "feel" for how it was for us growing up and they listened with awe at all the tales of our naughtiness and watched our parents for their reactions. At one point one of my nephews turned round to me and said "I've never heard Grandad laugh like this" as he sat quoting Monty Python and belly laughing. It's rare that we are all together and even rarer that we all enjoy each other with such affection.
On our last night there, my Dad, who loathes cooking and considers eating a necessary evil that you have to experience between cigarettes and coffee, carefully peeled a load of Maris Pipers and made bangers and mash, knowing full well his mash is one of my favourite things. My stepmum dropped her jaw and whispered to me that he hadn't cooked in about a year. We sat round the table as he asked us if the mash was ok. I was umming and oohing and nodding. He finds being demonstrative difficult - he gives me pictures, he buys me scones. This is how I have learned he operates. It's extra hard when I am only there once or twice a year - I think constantly that this could be "the last time." For some reason, the urgency of all that really seemed to filter through to everyone this year, especially as they are selling up in a couple of years and this isolated and impractical but wonderful moorland house will be out of our grasp. It seems such a cruel trick that just when generations are at the age to really start to understand and enjoy each other, it is time for it all to dismantle. For the first time in years, I cried when our taxi set off for the airport.
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.
Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?