We balance the needs of the elderly and ageing against the excited anticipation of our children - with our own hopes and desires bubbling below somewhere below the surface.
We are truly the sandwich generation.
|My dad with Ieuan, Christmas 2009|
So, I had a lovely Christmas. It had all the picture book elements I try to include to create lasting memories - from attending the village carol service, to decorating the house with fairy lights; from ensuring there was enough to eat and drink, to buying and wrapping sufficient gifts (but what IS sufficient?) I have seen so many TV advertisement for supermarket food, I feel like the M&S and Morrison's logos are burned into my eyeballs.
From December onwards, it has been like living in a bizarre Alice in Wonderland dreamscape where Christmas puddings shimmer with glitter and glace cherries tumble down from the sky, glancing off snow topped fir trees decorated with sugar canes and glinting with the gold of chocolate coins.
There were no arguments; no disagreements - not even a minute of shirtiness, because I have learned that it is just not worth the lasting damage it can do to memory making. It's as if, from December onwards, we all enter a bubble in the space-time continuum; like pressing pause whilst playing a DVD. And that, coupled with the enticing anticipation Christmas gives us is what makes this time of year so magical.
However, I have also seen, in a similar quantity to the Morrisons, Very and M&S adverts, seemingly endless appeals from charities asking for £2, £3, £5, £19 a month to help the sick, the needy, the dying across the World and in the UK. So frequent have been these appeals that one wonders how on earth giving such a small amount per month can possibly make a difference to the lives of the poor and starving - whilst also wondering how many lives could have been saved from the cost of such television advertising campaigns alone.
Such campaigns are a reminder that there is a reality outside our Christmas bubble and that while we are congratulating ourselves about having survived another one, without fights or falls outs, for some surviving Christmas is actually a miracle beyond their control - either today or in the year to come.