We got more than we bargained for in our yuletide surprises this year when surviving Christmas took on completely new meaning. WE got through the day itself in one piece, despite almost exploding from overeating and almost imploding from the joy of seeing the girls faces after Santa’s sortie, we had a much more serious dapple with death the next day. Icy relations with the in-laws warmed dramatically when the icy roads nearly ended all relations. We drove up the Wicklow mountains for lunch and the girls entertained us (and everyone else) with a few renditions of Rudolf. …like one of those scenes in a film where everyone is happy and laughing, minutes before disaster strikes. The roads had become quite treacherous and as I cautiously drove down the mountain, I clung desperately to the steering wheel as if holding it tightly would somehow grip the wheels to the perilous path. With hubby ahead with his mum and aunt, I followed behind with the girls and grandpa. Suddenly we came to an empasse, cars approaching and all of us slowing to nearly stop as we passed each other. As hubby slowed, I braked and my first surprise happened. The car speeded up.
With an increasingly increasing speed, an icy downhill, and hubby’s bumper bouncing towards me I had about 3 seconds to make a decision. And this was surprise number two. In three seconds this is what I was able to think:
“Shit! I’m not going to stop. Here are my choices. I can keep going and hit hubby, and maybe push him off the mountian. I can avoid him to the left and head straight off the edge ourselves. I can veer right into the oncoming cars. Or I can pull hard left and drive into that handy 20foot pile of logged trees there. “
I opted for the latter. And so, three seconds later I had time to yell “we’re going to crash!” before we……. well, crashed. Head on into a very high, very solid, wall of wood. And here was surprise number three. It made a bloody big bang. I dread to think how loud a fast crash is. And here is surprise number four. We all survived, we all had a cry and then we all had a laugh about it. Isn’t the human spirit amazing? (OK, the car in banjexed but who cares?)
After a rather lacklustre table chat over Christmas, suddenly Boxing night was full of life, and laughter. And there was my final surprise. A brush with death brings a family to life. Not recommending it of course…. But still, I hugged my girls a little closer, and I laughed a little louder. And that was my best Christmas present of all…….. what was yours??
 Christmas Surprises
29th Decemeber 2009