Category Archives: Christmas


Three wishes, what do we really want?

Watching Aladdin in panto I was struck with the question of what my three wishes would be?

1. Health for sure… Not to groan as I stand, to be able to run and move like I was 17… Or 7!

2. My second surprised me, it was to be amicable with my ex. It would make mine and my kids lives so much happier. I have tried a few times but I can’t break through, I don’t think it’s possible till the financials are sorted (which he tells me is never) and frankly it’s probably too late. However I can encourage my partner to be kind to his child’s mother.

3. I’m leaving this one for all of you! What would you do with your wish?


The Veggie and the Christmas Turkey


My tight smiled politeness is completely unconvincing, I wish I could act relaxed and happy while my brain is yelling Noooo! It’s Christmas Day (actually Boxing Day but their Turkey day) at my partners parents and I don’t want to be a problem, I want them to like me, to accept me but there is one big obstacle (actually there are loads, I’m not the mother of their grandchild, I’m not free to marry, I’m not a wonderfully successful academic… But the one I’m talking about now is) I’m vegetarian.

They have 17 for dinner and I am happy to help my partners mother, she’s finding it hard to cope as she gets older. So I dutifully baste the turkey and watch as she opens the tubs of goose fat and says to me do I think goose or beef fat makes the best roast potatoes. I feel awful as I gently remind her I don’t eat meat and she shrugs and says ‘oh but you don’t mind on roast potatoes do you?’ It is then that tight unconvincing smile I hate – mine rises and gets slapped on my face for the duration. I feel the stress across my back as I try my best not to be a pain. I watch as the bacon goes into the spouts and wonder if there is chicken stock in the bread sauce. I glance painfully around to see if there is anything I can eat for my my meal without having to explain myself awkwardly and make my hostess look bad. She pulls out a veggie Waitrose tart and I am so relieved.

The guests arrive and guess what there’s a surprise vegetarian so gallantly I give up my tart. Only to find out later that this veggie is one of those part time ones that yesterday enjoyed turkey. The smile tightens. The food is plated up in the kitchen so I have no escape, if it had been at the table I could have tried to avoid the bacon in the sprouts, chosen the smallest spud and pushed it round the plate. I’m presented with a massive plate of food covered in meaty gravy. My smile is so tight it might snap. No happy go lucky cheerful girl here, my stress shows in my inability to communicate, the kindly gent to my left thinks I’m neurotic as I hardly touch my meal.

I manage to get through with the usual comments about me not eating the delicious meal, I feel ungrateful and feign a headache and too much rich food the day before. I’m not even going to talk about the suet filled Xmas pudding and mince pies. I have tried to search for an analogy to gain your empathy instead of derision, when I was 18 and at uni I decided to make handmade Easter eggs for my family, I had a mould and set to with my new rubber spatula. Every beautifully handmade egg tasted of the new rubber from the spatula. That’s what it’s like eating sprouts, soup roast potatoes etc all tinged with meat fat and juices, but more because if I allowed my self to think about the animal I was eating, how abhorrent it is to consume another being it would be much worse than a rubber twang. So I tighten up as I force myself not to think.

The irony is to come though, I know so many veggies will sympathise with this, the guests leave and the carnage is left, there is nothing for it, the best china has been used, so not allowed in the dishwasher. There are baking tins of meat fat everywhere, the kitchen stinks of dead roasted animal. Obviously as the able bodied female guest my job is to wash up. The tight smile twangs sharply like a violin string, I try not to breathe as I bury my hands into hot water with floating scum and fat of animal and spend an hour scraping off that poor beasts remains.

After we collapse by the telly and I’m under attack, ‘you didn’t eat much’ I smile thinking ‘yes I’m starving pass the chocolates’ and try my best to change the subject. It’s so hard trying to shield people from their thoughtlessness and I really don’t want them to feel bad about my choices, but I would like to have that choice and not have to continually fight for it, defend it and be forced to compromise further than I am happy to go. I would like them to know they were charming thoughtful hosts.

Some tips if you have a veggie for dinner and want to make them comfortable and welcome (which might not always be the case!)
Don’t ask them to baste the turkey.
Roast potatoes with olive oil and butter are the best and everyone can enjoy.
Don’t put bacon and meat stock in everything.
Ask them to dry rather than wash up.

Autistic Christmas

An autistic Christmas is a little different, you realise that your ten year old will open two presents then be bored, no excitement to open anything else under the tree. That gift you’ve saved for and dreamed of their pleasure will be discarded unappreciated as they slip into the loop of needing a normal day.

You dread trying to create a ‘normal’ reaction for the rarely seen grandparents who just don’t understand, they expect appreciation, gratitude and a keenness to enjoy their educational gift. It won’t happen. A day of bearing up to their worried anxious comments about their only grandchild as we try to shield them from the truth of this condition or explain how he just doesn’t ‘get it’. Whatever ‘it’ is.

As I clean up from the last episode of IT incontinance, mend the curtain pulled off – by accident, pick up the hundreds of discarded things so that they are not all broken by accident and plan the day with lots of exercise I feel a bit tired. A bit tired of accidents. But maybe this year he’ll be a little more aware, feel a bit of magic. 


Divorce at Christmas a perspective

As I watched ‘Labor Day’ the other night I saw with a new perspective how my ex husband saw me – miserable, all the life and passion drained from my soul by loss. Like the heroine I had three miscarriages between my two children then after my second was born alive, so many more miscarriages that I stopped counting when I got to double figures.

Just like the heroine I was miserable, my peers were falling pregnant at the drop of a hat, going anywhere and seeing pregnant women and babies hurt like hell. Getting sympathy from others and the kindly meant scripted words ‘but at least you have two beautiful children’ stabbed at me like rusty knives. The constant years of maternity clothes. Eventually I was spared more torment by a series of ectopic pregnancies and that subject was put to rest in my mind. Not his though, my ex then set us up for IVF, his narcissistic mind demanding that he could buy what nature had failed to provide, it didn’t work, I think my ex still saw me as miserable and barren and hence the move to a younger woman. I held no further use to him.

Then it all happened again, with his leaving I was plunged back into the world surrounded by happy complete families, doubly so as it was Christmas time and the media illusion successfully demolished my soul to some extent. My worthlessness felt complete. I could hardly leave the house. But only by getting that low did I find the courage to really let go and find elemental pleasures and so be carefree about personal danger that it allowed me to feel again.

When they leave the pain is quickly encompassed by a protective numbness and you start to believe you will never feel again. My advice is give into it, let the numbness do its work and as you no longer feel or care a freedom creeps in that will help you feel and live again.

An autistic Christmas

My partner has bought his autistic son a beautiful and barely second hand mountain bike for Christmas. My partner is so excited about it, reminiscing about childhood bikes and his first tastes of freedom pedal power gave him.

However we both know that when his darling autistic son finds the bike it will register on his face as massive disappointment, the anticlimax of the year. Obviously he would prefer some iPad/Xbox/ play station/Wii thing that my partner flatly refuses to give into as the lad is drawn in so addictively he becomes IT-incontinent.

Any ideas on how to make a second hand bike the present of the year to a 10 year old autistic lad?

Father Christmas, The Book Thief & positive male role models

Father Christmas, The Book Thief and positive male role models

Last night I sobbed through the film of the The book Thief. As her dear papa died I wondered what it must feel like to have had that sort of relationship with your father. I can see how I am shaped by a childhood of fear from those closest to me and that love and fear have been totally screwed up in my head. My father used physical abuse and I moved on quickly, to marry early into emotional and verbal abuse, being grateful and misguidedly wrong in my belief in how lucky I was to have found a man who didn’t hit me.

He never hit me and rarely even shouted at me but I was tortured nonetheless, the gas lighting, the total removal of any power in the relationship, he held the purse strings. An example from many, he would order me to book a holiday (obviously he chose where) on the joint credit card then when the bill came in he would cold shoulder me as the bill was high and I had been extravagant. I was punished for doing as I’d been told, mocked in front of my peers, this behaviour over 25 sends you a bit crazy.

But what I wanted to explore is the importance of a loving positive role model in a child’s life, recently my daughter asked if I would marry my partner as he’d make a really cool grandad, I would love to break the mould and give my grandkids a sweet and loving man in their life. But I can’t marry again.  I think it would be an incredible feeling to have that certainty behind your every move in life that a positive male role model could give. I hope that more dads this year lay off the office networking party booze (at least every weekend and most weeknights!) and think about how their children perceive them on the weekends as involved fathers enjoying their family instead of hungover angry bears that we have to step around carefully so as not to wake the monster.

To have a father who has a pillow fight with you, who takes you shopping for a gift for mum and struggles beside you with wrapping paper and sellotape. Who gets involved in decorating the tree instead of ripping it down in a drunken rage. A dad who watches the Christmas play or stays up late to fetch you from your first teen party. To have a father that can show you how much he loves you must be the biggest gift Father Christmas could give a child this year.

Chosing life as an upgrade

Choosing life as an upgrade?

I don’t remember as a child having the options to upgrade on almost everything we did. My poor old dog recently had a stroke but made a great recovery, the vet offered a prescription that would cost me £75 a month that would give her the ‘upgrade’ from normal and to be honest well past her sell by date life, to a better one and possibly even longer. I had to embarrassingly refuse, I love her to bits but I can’t afford it. I’m feeling tired of constantly having to chose the upgrades I can afford and suffer the embarrassment of those I can’t. Especially in front of my family and friends.

Normal hot chocolate or the one with the cream, flake and marshmallows; normal winter wonderland experience or the one with the premium ice skates and penguin; Santa’s knee or a full on trip to Lapland. A Skoda or a Volkswagen. My mums Christmas pudding or the one some celebrity chef has personally vomited on?

Are we all so arrogant to believe we (or at least our kids) should have the best? Sellers seem to be following this lucrative belief.

My partners old dad has just been offered a similar deal to the dog, NHS (no op, just some antibiotics) or private (to get an operation and subsequent improvement in quality of life). Isn’t it rather dark that we are in a world of choosing life as an upgrade?