It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! I currently have a toddler who can be bribed to eat broccoli, by the promise of a mince pie, a husband counting down the days until he’s feasibly allowed to eat brandy butter, we’ve hosted 13 adults, three under threes and two dogs, for a full sit down, turkey meal, with all the trimmings, we’ve had a house full of six toddlers, and their respective bigger people, for a pot luck picnic, a family lunch and more entertaining to come! The shopping list is growing longer, daily, the freezer is full, to bursting, and I’m on a diet!
In all honesty, it’s going pretty well, I’m not going to moan about it and I’m definitely going to relax it, a little, over Christmas, but, it is what it is and the time has come for me to stop making excuses and shed that IVF and pregnancy weight; I can’t help but hear a Ricki Lake-esque figure in my head at this point telling me to: “You go girl!”
I know it might sound pretty bonkers to embark upon a diet with Christmas just a few days away and all the treats on offer at this festive time of year, however, as much as I love food and a good meal, to me it means so much more than just the taste. Of course, don’t get me wrong, a plate of tasty grub is, indeed, an added bonus, however, I’m talking about everything that food encompasses; the way it brings family and friends together, how a good meal, with good company, and not forgetting the good wine too, can nourish the body and the soul, and is a way I can show I care. I can open up my home, I can make you feel welcomed, ensure you leave well fed and that, my friend, is a hug from me to you!
As Cesar Chavez puts it, very succinctly for me, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with them… the people who give you their food give you their heart”. And, hopefully, anyone who has been through our door, knows this is true of us.
Friends and family have always been, and will remain to be, incredibly important, in my life. Yes, relationships change, life moves on and it, inevitably, gets harder to meet up, but it matters to me to get everyone together, as often as life allows; which, in reality, is usually now once a year at Christmas. Yet, whether it’s once, twice or, we’re lucky enough for it to be many times a year, every get together is significant because, by doing so, we’re getting to create our own, new, traditions and make even more memories, to add to the shared ones we’re already fortunate enough to have.
I’m aware that Christmas means many things to many different people and that, for some, it isn’t always the happy occasion greetings cards and films make us believe. It can be a time of stress and loneliness, of grief, a time to remember and reflect as well as the presumed joy, family togetherness and happiness we’re meant to experience. Being childless, involuntarily, at Christmastime, was sometimes excruciatingly difficult, but it taught me that every person often has their own tale to tell and their own cross to bear; a reason that makes it even more pressing to show you I’m here.
And so I will continue to make sure I bring folk together, make merry, drink tea, wine and even break bread, so that I can tell you that you are valuable to me and bless my life and I thank you for the role you play in it; things I might not say enough, and you will bring me joy by simply being there.
My grandfather will always say that, in life, you only ever need one person to love you and you’re blessed, and whilst he is completely right, I can’t help thinking that my life is extremely joyous as I get to experience so much love and friendship in it.
I also, firmly, believe that Julia Childs was, indeed, correct when she said that “People who love to eat are always the best people”. And there’s always room at our table for whoever wants to join!
I, heartily, wish you all a very merry Christmas; may you find peace, may your life be blessed and may you feel loved.