The Good Cheer Quest

Seasons greetings everyone. It’s been a mixed one this end. Along with a beautiful Christmas dinner (thanks to Jack’s cooking) and lovely presents to open, there have also been those Chris-mixed emotions. Like gremlins popping up out of the pudding.

‘If I hear you say “Good Cheer” one more time, I’m going to scream,’ Lulu said to me yesterday.

But there it is. After watching The Christmas Chronicles one too many times on Netflix (who can get enough of Kurt Russell saying, ‘Are you listening?’), I’ve taken the responsibility of good cheer seriously. We came down to my mum’s two days before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we were due to drive to Paddington in West London to pick up a pile of caviar. I was waiting to go, dressed in my tracksuit bottoms. Ok, maybe not the most glamorous outfit choices to pick up a glamorous food item, but hey. At least they weren’t the shiny kind. More fluffy.

‘Don’t you think you should try not to look like a homeless person?’ Jack said. It wasn’t really a question.

I was propped up on my grandmother’s bed. Since her fall a few weeks before, she’s been enjoying languorous lie-ins.

I looked back at Jack. ‘All the richest people dress like they’re homeless anyway.’

This, in pre-children times, would have been our simple repartee. A bit of fun banter between us. I’m not the sort of person who gets easily offended. In fact, I’m such a sucker for a laugh, I figure this has to include myself in the joke. Nowadays though, the children join in… and they don’t always get the humour. Well, one of them doesn’t.

‘For God’s sake Mom, can’t you look after yourself?’

I began to laugh. You know how laughter is an excellent method for diffusing situations?

The truth is that the mature thing to do would have been to find something classier to wear for picking up the caviar. Since my fluffy tracksuit bottoms was akin to dredging the local canal for snack food. Except for one small snag. I didn’t have anything classier to wear. I’m not exactly rocking my wardrobe right now in the classy department. Call it a lifestyle choice or a mean streak that I just can’t shake, or both of these things rolled into a slightly scummy bag. Hold on. At least it’s a clean scummy bag. I don’t know. Everyone’s so obsessed with clothes. It’s like watching a herd of designer sheep.

Unfortunately, the laughter didn’t work so well in this situation. ‘I hate you!’ Lulu ended up yelling. ‘You’re just so embarrassing.’

Ok. Time to get out of my grandmother’s bed. My grandmother, by the way, was still smiling and nodding at the Polish radio. I followed Lulu to my mum’s bedroom. ‘What makes you think you can tell your mother that you hate her?’

Lulu threw her hands to the sky. ‘Because you are so embarrassing.’

‘And you think you can speak to me like that in your grandmother’s house?’

‘You guys need to stop arguing,’ Jack cut in. ‘Don’t shout at Lulu.’

I threw him not one, but two side eyes. ‘A. I’m not shouting. And B. I think I deserve to tell my daughter off.’

He shrugged. ‘It’s not going to help by shouting at her.’

My eyes did a double roll to the ceiling. ‘Well, that’s pretty rich from you, considering you started it.’

‘What do you mean, I started it?’

‘With the homeless jibe.’

‘I was joking. She’s the one who gets all personal.’

‘So what, I can’t tell her off for it?’

‘Well, I’m not listening to this. Considering I’m the one who’s going to spend a hundred quid on caviar for everyone.’

Bang. There it dropped. The money mike.

The day calmed down eventually. Well, after I did a little Christmas Eve weeping and went shopping. Three hours later I had a super pair of jeans though. I guess the time had actually come where I needed to take more responsibility for what I look like. One new pair of jeans. One hatred verbal volley. First day of Christmas almost done.



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