“My mom’s has big boobs!” announced my 7-year-old son halfway through Christmas lunch with my in-laws.
The proclamation was followed by piratical laughter and a quick exit.
I could have said: “Like father like son.”
Or: “He’s entered a new stage in Freudian development.”
Or: “He knows a good thing when he sees it.”
But I didn’t.
I hid my head in my hands and wept with laughter until the wildfire blush had cooled down to a mild glowing simmer.
Christmas time. Like many mothers it is a time that fills me with deep seeded panic and exhaustion.
What on earth am I supposed to do with three small children that is not going bankrupt me, yet occupy them and stop them killing each other, hating me or burning my house down?
There are many wonderful places to go and things to do around this time of the year; unfortunately most of them need a level of financial liquidity I am a stranger to.
I am also haunted, not by the ghost of Christmas Past, but the far more chilling spectre of the Perfect Mom.
The Perfect Mom doesn’t work all year round and then collapse during her 5 days off over Christmas into a semi-coma. The Perfect Mom can crochet blankets out of the fur of her perfectly trained German Shepherd.
The Perfect Mom can whip up a Christmas feast for ten and design her own bloody sleigh. She doesn’t have a problem fitting down the chimney.
This year I refused to allow Perfect Mom to wag her perfectly French-manicured finger disapprovingly in my direction.
I made Christmas Crackers that turned out to be very pretty, but needed Arnold and The Rock to pull them apart. Tissue paper is a lot stronger than it seems.
We made nougat, bath fizz bomb, a rainbow cake and a gingerbread house. We even recycled Coca Cola bottles into bird feeders and made a wreath out of plastic bags.
We even refurbished the boys’ trainer bike for our daughter thanks to some purple glitter metallic paint and a pink saddle.
Beat that Perfect Mom.
‘Twas the day Christmas when I went out
To buy a gift for my industrious spouse
And I bought a gizmo that bicycles stowed
That’s when it got weird.
I met up with my man and he said “Oh dear me.
We must go to the bike shop immediately”
There I stood a step or two behind
Making desperate cutting gestures with my hand
The bike salesmen started to jeer.
It was a very awkward situation.
The fact that I got out of with gift intact and unknown was a miracle.
But, then it was the season for it.
We went sailing, we went to the zoo and we spent time with each other in a way we can’t during most of the year.
That time is what the holidays are about – not presents, but people.
Next Christmas, assuming the world doesn’t come to an end,
I think I will bake a large cake and hide inside it.
I’ve always wanted to jump out of a cake.
Perfect Mom can go jump off a cliff.