I do so hate trying to be fun. I’m utterly rubbish at it. The strain paints a grimace over what must be good cheer. But fun should be an accidental thing shouldn’t it? Fun should throw itself upon you without the rigours of planning. The irresistible giggle of a tickle. The ludicrous antics of a toddler. One of those ordinary nights that wraps its silly arms around you until you wander off to bed wearing a contented smile. Forced fun is surely something of an oxymoron?
So yes, another New Year’s Eve please. One I am ready for. One I don’t have to dress up for! One, preferably, that doesn’t shove me head first into a year already begot by pandemics, and politics and sons with terrible tummies and the kind of personal tunnel vison that has me burrowed down in my computer so wholly neither domesticity nor dinner seem to matter.
Imagine that! It could be a ladies only thing. Ladies who have recovered from the muddle of Christmas, set up home-schooling, put away the holiday, managed family anxiety and now want, nay yearn, for just a moments peace. A moment long enough to plan their tomorrows and come to terms with their todays. Oh if only…
Today though. Dank and so cold I walk around muttering in outrage. A perpetually befuddled teenager, one hand on a stomach that will not let up, another dragging its way through tangled curls as he harasses me with questions. How long does it take to make toast? (Seriously??). Will probiotics make things worse? (No). Do I remember the Royal Rumble from 2014? (I can’t remember yesterday, child!). Do I think Yungblud is transgender? Is Peter Capaldi a better Doctor Who because he is simply a better actor or is it to do with his range of expression? What are my opinions on the male gaze? Where are tea-towels kept? Can he have pasta again for tea? And on and on it goes. Anxiety at an all time high and only correct answers to his endless questions any kind of panacea. The intensity of a teenager and the need-to-know of a child.
A dank day. But cosy inside regardless. A morning’s worth of effort to straighten, and vacuum and dust skirting boards blessed with a sprinkle of pink glitter from heaven knows where. (As if a pretty little fairy has been trailing me wherever I go). A brunch of beetroot crackers, feta and tangerines. A glass of cranberry juice. Too many cups of mint tea. A broken dishwasher and the blessing of a kitchen sink meditation instead. A scam call purporting to be from HMRC. A call from my Dad about his sore gums. A letter from the children’s hospital I have been waiting for. A red velvet floor cushion on a floral rug. A dressing table groaning with pretty potions I must make time to enjoy. And so many books waiting patiently for their turn to feed me words I have missed for weeks now. (What does it mean when we cannot read? Do we lose the skill to twitchiness of the soul and only find it again when we give ourselves permission to breath?). This one and this one and this one.
Then an afternoon shower. Flannels sprinkled with eucalyptus to banish a stuffy nose and towels warmed on the radiator. Clean pyjamas because I think I have forgotten the point of clothes and socks adorned with Christmas because they are one of a very few pairs that don’t send me skidding across the kitchen. Wet hair, don’t care. It’s doing its own thing these days and I have quite forgotten how to look in the mirror. Odd isn’t it, how the ordinary slips away when the monotony of the pandemic slithers through the cracks of the walls all over again?
Now. Another cuppa with Ste. More pineapple chopped for Finn, whose diet has become so limited. A scoop of rose balm for cheeks chapped by dry rooms. A candle lit in the living room. Fairy lights twinkling in the kitchen. Grateful for it all.
Grateful that I don’t have to cook tonight because Ste will do it, and do it better than I. Grateful that we have this lovely roof over our head, and it isn’t New Years Eve and I don’t have to be fun, and I can just be me, and I can plod about in Rudolf socks and work till silly o’clock if I want to. Grateful for another New Year regardless.
Grateful for it all. For it all, is what shores us up.
Happy New Year Housekeepers.