My perfect Christmas happens every year even when it is not happy. It has been perfect for the last 30 years because I have Mr M with me. My children have grown up in that time - they were teenagers when Mr M came into our life - and they have their own families. I love having them around but don't ever make them feel that they have to come to us for Christmas. They have in-laws who like them to go there for Christmas and as long as my kids are happy then I am content. I don't need them close to know they love me.
The most perfect Christmas was in 1992. We were having a lot of work done on the house - roof, wiring, water pipes, drains, windows. All good stuff and as we were continuing to live in the house while the work went on it got a bit stressful for Mr M as he hates me even moving the furniture.
Every day the builders would tell me which rooms they would be doing the next day and we would then move all the boxes and furniture into a room that was done. After the windows were replaced we had no curtain poles so no curtains. We live in a terraced house with a small garden at the front that separates us from the pavement. people walk past our house all day and most of the night too as it is the drunkards path home from the clubs in the city centre. Getting into bed each night was quite a feat, I can tell you.
The work began at the end of September and by December 20th we had a new roof, all the plastering had been done after the new wiring was put in. The windows were all new and double glazed and the brand new copper water pipes were in and the floorboards relaid. The last few jobs were completed and at 9am on Christmas Eve the painter arrived and painted the front door. "Keep this slightly open," he said with a grin "to give the paint a chance to dry so it won't stick to the frame and pull off the door."
It was pretty darned cold with the front door open all day on christmas Eve. There was a bitter wind and even with three blankets hung across the gap it was still cold. We held out until three pm and then Mr M said "I don't care if all the bl**dy paint falls off, we are closing the door!" So we did. We had a sofa to sit on a coffee table the TV and the stove in the kitchen to cook dinner. The boys were in Germany in the army so they were with their own families. My daughter was in Manchester with her new boyfriend so it was just Mr M and me. we cooked the dinner together, and then sat on the sofa with our plates on our knees to eat then we sat back and watched TV for a while then we played cribbage and all the time we talked. We are always talking, we have never yet run out of things to say to each other. sometimes we sit in silence, reading or listening to music or watching TV but mostly we talk.
That's why it was so perfect. I knew my family was all safe because they all rang me during the day to say that Santa had been and he gave them good presents. So I suppose each year I hope that I will be able to repeat that perfection even though we no longer have wet plaster on the walls and there are curtains at the windows.
Maybe this year eh?