After struggling to enjoy the local Christmas lights switch-on with her daughters, Maria decides to look on the bright side of the evening.
“Hello my two minions. How are we at 5.30pm on this Friday evening after a full week of school and routine and mayhem?
“Shall we go to town and watch the Christmas lights being switched on? It is after all the season of glitter and Santa and smiles and joy. Let us go among the throngs of people and celebrate the official start of the festivities.
“Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! Let us not consider bedtime and the fact that Daddy is working. Let us girlies go anyway, to make memories and be blessed and potter around the atmospheric street. Mammy is a strong and adventurous Mammy, more than capable of taking you, my little cherubs, in to experience the joyous atmosphere and twinkling lights and seasonal songing from other local children.
“Let us go-ho-ho!”
Mammy is the biggest Christmas Fairy walking and so my children must have obviously inherited my enthusiasm for all things Santaful…
Mammy is also a Twat.
Having allowed one “OOOOOOOH!” at the lights outside the “Voodon’t” pub, and permitted me to find a “perfect spot” where we could all see Mr MC and the amazing fake snow, with a bench for them to stand on and room for Mammy to move, they decided that 3 minutes of chill-time had been more than sufficient for Me.
“I can’t see!”
“Where IS Santa?”
“I don’t see any lights!”
“Stop singing Mammy!”
“I don’t wike it.”
“It’s too loud!”
“I need a peeeee” (I had never intended to have my daughters in a pub toilet. Funnily enough, I never noticed how small the cubicles were. Probably because I haven’t ever had another person clinging to my knees and screaming “My Bum is soaking” in there. Well… if you don’t count that…never mind!)
Having lost the perfect spot because of the sudden need to peepee, Mammy and her minions struggle through the crowds to find another spot where we can safely stand without Princess being stepped on, or Mini-Me being hit in the face by a flashing fricking glowstick.
Mammy is insistent that we shall smile and grin and be merry and fecking bright, but Mammy forgets that despite the pintsize of the youngest Mini, when she decides she’s DONE with something, she is DONE.
Mammy can smile and grin and be merry and fecking bright all she wants, Mammy is not really in charge.
Mammy makes promises. Mammy makes promises through gritted teeth. Mammy makes threats through same teeth. Mammy allows her laugh to tinkle over the head of the tantruming threenager… Mammy hopes it does not sound as hysterical as it feels.
Princess Demonica takes every ounce of Christmas spirit from Mammy, throws it on the ground and stomps all over it. She then takes her Skye teddy from the handbag…Skye, her most beloved and revered teddy…and FLINGS it onto the ground, so hard I think I hear the teddy cry a little. Perhaps it is my poor self whose cry I hear. She then combusts into hysterics because “Skye is on da gwouuuuuuund!”
The other Doll is channeling her inner teenager, shoulders hunched, hair over her face, bored pout perfected. “Any chance you’d smile?” asks Mammy, desperate for some camaraderie. “I AM smiling” she answers, rolling her eyes…
Mammy decides that nothing will ruin our Memory making. Mammy smiles and dances. Mammy takes some photos. Mammy videos the countdown and the faces of her two cherubs, who abandon their crusade to break Mammy for 20 seconds…
Mammy glances around at the other festive feckers. All the families and children and flashing lights and smilings for the camera and wonders what she did in a past life to have children who are intent on testing the limits of twattery every time Mammy tried to make fecking memories.
And then Mammy sees the other kids who are also protesting at being up past bedtime, or out in the dark, or cold. She sees the other Mammies and Daddies, struggling to carry little people and bags while pushing buggies.
She sees the adults who are determined to create a festive atmosphere and make memories for their children, despite the fact that the children give not one sh*t and would be quite happy at home watching Paw Patrol.
And so Mammy takes a breath, remembers that she is not alone in her deluded notions of festivity, that very few families are actually “pottering” happily around the street, or singing the carols in unison, or being Hallmark worthy… and then Mammy does something incredibly clever.
Mammy bribes the children with promises of Happy Meals and does the side-shoe-shuffle down the street to the car, just before the Santa arrives to add any more drama to the Llamas. And so we are in the car, through the Drive-Thru and back in Chez Rushe by the time the other knackered parents and their little Darlings have even thought about moving.
While the rest of the town is sitting in traffic, Mammy is jingling all the way home to do the Bedtime dance with two feral wagons. But despite the stress and #fml moments of the evening, Mammy is glad she insisted.
Because thankfully, the only person who remembers any of those, is Mammy.
All they remembered as Mammy tucked them in were the lights and the songs. And really, it’s not MY #memories that are important. It’s theirs.
Because when I think back to the things that my parents brought us to, I only remember the fun and the excitement. I’d bet that MY Mum has very different memories of them however.