Christmas is like a hurricane, sweeping you up in a whirl and depositing you the other side among the debris, not quite knowing how you got there but drawing breath at last.
It smells like Christmas still, Christmas deconstructed, turkey stock simmering as the last vestiges of Christmas feasting are tidied out of the fridge. How can we have got through all that turkey already…and the gammon? Even the jelly is finished. The fridge looks way too tidy and empty.
There are presents still to buy or make but the momentum is gone. Our son’s last minute present making plans were thwarted when he went down with mumps on the Monday before Christmas. Lying on the sofa with a cool pad clutched to his chipmunk cheek he was in no fit state to be stirring lemon curd, or starting a production line of paintings like his sisters. He had just one present made and wrapped.
On the other side of Christmas he surfaced, with a new-found dislike of jelly, as it was the only thing he could eat for three days, and was finally able to make his lemon curd gifts. They are still languishing in the fridge, while he summons up the energy to wrap them and present them to his aunts – the gift-giving frenzy is over, along with the cast off wrapping paper, and the urgency is gone.
Now we are calculating the days until the girls can be expected to show signs of mumps too: +/– three weeks incubation = about when we are planning on going on holiday to the River with friends. So do we go and risk it, packing a large bottle of paracetemol syrup and a week’s supply of jelly, knowing that we’ll be a half hour drive from the nearest town down a bumpy dirt road?
Or maybe they could oblige and get it early next week, so they are starting to feel better by the time we go. Luckily we’ve already exposed said friends to mumps as our son had a sleepover with them just before he went down with it, so we don’t have to worry about sharing the germs!
The positive spin is that it is much better to get mumps before adolescence strikes, so really it’s in the nick of time for these eleven year olds, but our son didn’t find that very cheering while he was languishing on the sofa facing the bleak prospect of a Christmas Day spent unable to indulge in roast potatoes and a surfeit of pudding.
In the end he was able to eat the potatoes, his swollen glands having shrunk to a respectable hamster size, but after four days of not eating he could only manage four potatoes instead of his usual ten!