Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Tears on the Eve

Posted by Oli on Wednesday 24th December, 2008

Just a day to go till the big 2008th birthday of little baby J, the dude that started it all, in more ways than one. Also the dude that finished it all, which is odd. As well as being the dude that landed in the middle of it all. All things to all people, I guess.

We were up, again, ridiculously early at 8am (it’s funny how your perception of early changes when you aren’t being forced into 6am starts) to get ourselves ready for the shift across to Deanshanger and all of K’s immediate family.

My first job, irritatingly, is to head over to the other side of MK to fetch K’s present, which I’ve been messed about on first by the initial website I ordered from, then by the courier company I’d paid extra to get delivery to me before Christmas as I didn’t want this precise situation to ensue. Still, it’s not rocket science to get sorted and I’m home half-an-hour later in time to wake K with a cuppa and kick her (lovingly) out from under the covers.

We shoot across to K’s GP to get her her second Hep B jab, a necessity brought on by the likelihood of her working in dodgy environments within the NHS (and that’s just the offices), and she also managed to wangle a ‘flu jab that had meant to have been done much, much earlier, but better late than never, I suppose.

I giggled, not very kindly, because I’d had a ‘flu jab earlier in the year and not been able to sleep on the arm that I got the shot in, and now K had managed to get both arms shot in on the same day – tonight was going to be fun!

We scrambled back home to finish off our wrapping and packing – well, I had to finish (read: do) my wrapping, since K is far more organised than I am and had done all of ours and all of hers, but couldn’t really be left with mine to do for her as it’s somewhat prone to spoiling the surprise.

All set for a cracking Chrimbo, we shoot to bro number 2’s (or is that 2.2, or 2.1 – how do you count twins?) place to hang out with the kids and for K to attempt to work them into a pre-Father Chrismas-visit frenzy, which she ends up proving unable to do thanks to their already way over heightened excitement levels as it is.

We chill with them for a while until they have to go out for festive fun in the neighbourhood and head up to her ‘rents place to unpack and chillax for the evening. On the way, we pass them walking down to Bro No 1’s new house that they moved into last weekend (awesome timing on their part, eh?). We tell them to jump in the car and we whizz round to the new place and peep it out.

It has to be said it’s absolutely gorgeous – the first new-build I’ve seen in a long while with large, airy rooms, a warm, homely feel and a garden larger than a postage stamp. It may be that, due to work movements and such, they only end up being there for six months (they’re renting it while they assess their options and settle into new routines), but it’s a great place to be and more handy for the kids’ school, too, but still in the village.

We hang out there for a while, playing board games and – for the first time in donkey’s years – marbles with the kids until we realise we’d be better off out of their hair as the matriarch has to not only prepare for the imminent Santa-arrival, but also cope with all the usualy 3-day-old move unpacking and sorting.

Back at the ‘rents, we show K’s mum a short film a friend of mine made, which has her in tears and makes K feel terrible and me feel worse because K at least had the excuse that she didn’t realise it would upset her mum, whereas I knew full well it’s too sad a movie not to illicit tears from her.

While we crack on with Christmas prep, finishing off bits of wrapping and peeling sprouts, we are invited back down to bro 2.2’s place for a beer, which I opt not to go for so I can drive K around the village and stop the cold going to her legs, which would pretty much ruin the night for her.

After catching the Christmas ep of Gavin and Stacey, the first ever Gav ep that’s made me laugh out loud, we head back up to the ‘rents and grab D to take her with us (or for her to take us) to the midnight service at the village church.

Midnight is a traditional thing for my family to do together on Christmas eve whenever we’re at home and I’d not managed to make it thanks to illness for something approaching three years if my memory serves. That, combined with not having my ‘rents around and thinking of my bro out in the field in some unknown part of the world got me really and truly upset – and in a church full of people I don’t know.

After the service, I’m feeling very reflective and worried about my bro and the situation he’s in – which I have to acknowledge I know almost nothing of, for security and operational reasons. I drop a text to Mum and Dad to tell the I miss them and I go to bed with a heart far too heavy for the festive season.


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