The build up started in the summer. With the demands for me to write lists for "Ho Ho Ho". She loved to send letters folding up the pieces of paper she had scribbled on and demanding a stamp so that they could be sent (quickly please mummy)
The Singing Hands Christmas DVD would be on constant loop and gradually over the months excitement would build as decorations appeared in the shops and the rest of the world caught up with Daisy's festive enthusiasm. Last year I even broke my absolute rule and put the tree up in November, it had been getting earlier and earlier each year and last year was the first Christmas since Andy's funeral and I was prepared to do anything to make it special, including giving in to Daisy's demands and putting the tree up before December.
I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I trawled the internet trying to get hold of the Baby Alive doll she kept watching You Tube videos of. I'm so glad she dressed up in her Christmas hat and visited friends, delivering cards and presents.
|visiting the GP surgery to deliver cards to our friends there|
I was tired last year. I had endured the year from hell as I adjusted to life as a single parent. I was worried about Daisy's continuing deterioration and the fact that getting her to school was a struggle. Finding nurses to fill the rota was a struggle. I was dreading the days over Christmas when we would have no nurse cover and I would have to work back to back waking shifts to manage Daisy's care while also reliving those last days with Andy 12 months previously. I was worried about what the new year would hold, we had started conversations about moving Daisy to a new school but I wasn't even sure if she could cope with school at all the way her medical needs were increasing.
I envied people who were at long last having a grown up Christmas. Not waking at the crack of dawn, a civilised lunch later in the day, a family walk. No chance of that with one completely over-excited little girl in the house, I saw years stretching ahead of having conversations about Ho Ho Ho, visits to grottos, trying to find an appropriate present for Daisy. I was worn out and wondered how much more I could cope with.
Little did I know then.
Now of course, it's autumn so retailers are counting down to Christmas. Friends are putting up facebook posts counting down the number of weekends until Christmas. We're entering that time of the year. Just as last year I had all the firsts, it's happening again. Now it will be the second time we celebrate Andy's birthday without him, closely followed by the second time we think about the day he died. A week later it should have been Daisy's 13th birthday, a teenager. I had plans to try and make her room a bit more grown up, to reflect the fact that she was going to be a teenager this year. Her birthday absolutely heralded the start of Christmas in our house, complete over excitement of all her favourite celebrations rolled into a few days.
And then it will be Christmas. No more putting out the carrot for Rudolph and hanging her stocking on the door (although I know that my older children will still expect theirs), no more crack of dawn wake ups and feigned surprise that Santa has been to the house and left presents. No demands of "more" as she tears her way through present after present.
It's going to be a very different Christmas this year, it was the one I wished for last year, the one where I also got to sit down and relax and enjoy the festivities. I wish it wasn't.
You know I will make the best of it. You know we will celebrate Daisy's birthday in style. But just as I have been reluctantly forced to close the chapter of my life with Andy before I was ready, Christmas will also mark another chapter suddenly and brutally closed.