There are several advantages of not having family living nearby…… no over-enthusiastic visiting from mums and mother-in-laws; no loosing your husband to Saturday DIY sessions at the grandparent’s house; no Sunday lunch obligations; no cousin babysitting. Of course the disadvantage list is longer with no free babysitting taking the top three spots. Actually, the top five.
Somehow when our families were settling down everyone had a philosophy of “pick a country, any country” and therefore ended up flung around Ireland and Britain like children playing hide and seek in a large house. Our kids don’t have a single relation living in their own country – grandparents in Northern Ireland, Vietnam and England, cousins in Scotland and Brighton. In our family, we don’t have get-togethers, we have invasions. Take this Christmas – our first in our new house. “Come see us” we offered excitedly in our drunken champagne exuberance of actually owning a family home. And so this Christmas our family festivities are a bit like the proverbial bus – we don’t see them for months, and then they all arrive together.
This weekend my parents drove down from Belfast and my brother’s family flew in from Scotland. And it all sort of whizzed past me in a blur of noise – 6 adults and 5 children shouting, screaming, laughing, pushing, shoving, eating drinking, talking, and eating and drinking some more. And suddenly as quickly as they all arrived, they’ve all gone, leaving the house shell-shocked and me wondering if it actually all happened. The Christmas tree is about the only thing left standing, and even it looks pretty dazed.
Last weekend it was my husband’s brother and all his kids. Next weekend it’s his dad. Christmas is his mum, step-dad and Aunt and at New Year we have 18 (yes… count them with me – 8 adults and 10 children including us) for three days. I feel like I’m on some sort of entertainment rollercoaster where life has become a cycle of shopping, cleaning and changing beds followed by a manic three days of not seeing my own children while up to my eyeballs in whatever breakfast, lunch and dinner I’m trying to conjure up to feed the masses, following by the shopping, cleaning and changing beds again.
Hubby and I have a dream of someday opening a small but quaint B&B by the sea… I’m beginning to loose my enthusiasm. Anyway, must dash… got the beds to change..……