Christmas, Birthdays, and other things we didn’t want to have to celebrate during a pandemic
A lot of things about Christmas 2020 were exactly the same as any other Christmas we’ve celebrated: or since Max came along, at least.
Everyone ate way too much, but then ate some more anyway.
Max was more excited than he’s ever been in his life.
My mum once again outdid herself, with a table setting which included an entire miniature village, complete with tiny replicas of our house and theirs, plus the Disney castle for Max to play with when he got bored during dinner.
I once again forgot to photograph most of this, and, in fact, took no photos AT ALL of anyone other than Max: whoops.
We all ate even more, and yet somehow we all STILL managed to forget about the cheeseboard until Terry, Max and I were half way to the car, at which point my parents were all, “Oh noes, we forgot about the cheeseboard again! Oh well, next time!” Then they closed the door, and we drove home, thinking about all the cheese we didn’t eat.
It was a perfectly normal, perfectly lovely Christmas, in other words, and, as the five of us sat down to dinner as usual, we all commented on how incredibly lucky we were to be doing this, given how many other people in the country were, at that minute, banned from seeing their families on Christmas day… which, OK, that bit WAS pretty different, really.
Our Christmas day was normal on the surface, but there were still some significant differences: like the video calls with Terry’s side of the family, which had to replace our usual get together with them. Or the constant feeling that we were doing something dangerous, that might well end up killing us. I mean, I know I tend to be a “glass half empty” kind of person, but that one was unusual even for ME.
Finally, of course, there was the looming Boxing Day lockdown.
At midnight on Christmas Day we all turned into pumpkins Scotland went back into tier 4: which meant that Max got to celebrate his 3rd birthday in lockdown, too. He’s spent almost a third of his short life in lockdown now, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still struggle with that knowledge sometimes: not because I think he’s unhappy, or knows any different, but because I can see how badly he needs to socialise with children his own age now, and how much he’d get out of being around people other than Terry and I all day, every day.
I think in the push to BE POSITIVE at all costs, it can be easy to forget that this is not a remotely normal situation we’re currently navigating our way through, and as much as I know that Max won’t remember or care that his 3rd birthday was spent in isolation, I ALSO know that he has aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who would have loved to have been able to spend more time with him this year, and who will never know the pure joy that was Max at two years old now.
But here he is at three, and, as you can see, while we may not have been able to have the same kind of party we’ve had for his last two birthdays, we did still manage to celebrate, and, thanks to his extremely generous family members, there was no shortage of presents, either:
“This is very helpful of everyone!” Max kept exclaiming as he opened each gift. It was, he said, “the best birthday ever,” coming mere days after “the best Christmas ever,” and, well, who are we to argue with that?
I’m probably always going to wish that this year had been different, that next year will be better, and that we’d combed Max’s hair before taking these photos. But, then again, this was a year in which we celebrated all of our special events – all of our birthdays and holidays – under circumstances we couldn’t even have imagined this time last year: so I guess it’s probably OK to cut ourselves some slack here…