December 25th 2013. Christmas Day. The day has gone really well, considering. There haven't been any arguments. Well, not proper arguments. Not like Christmas 2006 and "Trolley Gate" where Mum and Dad bought my 35-year-old brother a 'hostess trolley'. Brother, not feeling the need for his sprouts to be kept warm inside a machine the size of his dining room whilst he hosted none existent dinner parties, was not impressed. Parents, thinking they were providing brother with the answer to all his Come Dine With Me prayers were hurt. Words were exchanged and Christmas got cancelled. Christmas 2013 has thus has gone pretty damn swimmingly, you know, considering.
It has been a darkly comic day. We began with my devout Catholic Mother, sister and I going to morning mass. Upon questioning, it became apparent that mother, who is suffering from early onset Dementia, wasn't quite sure why we were celebrating Christmas. "It's because we give presents," she states defiantly. Upon reflection, I imagine half of Britain's youth and a fair few functioning adults would say the same. "It's Jesus' birthday Mum," states my sister. "Oh super!" declares Mum and we proceed to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus on repeat for the rest of the day, mother even providing a small dance accompaniment. She's happy, so we're happy.
The black comedy continues with my brother and sister sharing a heartrending moment and at the point tears are about to leak, my brother's dog struts over and takes her own leak squarely between their feet. There's nothing like a dog peeing on your emotional bonfire (and slippers) to lighten the mood. Finally the dark comedy peaks with an episode of Who wants to be a Millionaire and Mum repeatedly trying to convince Dad to apply, given that he knows all the answers. The irony is that Dad, as a result of Mother's condition and her new found addiction to game shows, has suffered the same episode 100 times over. My poor father has to endure the annoying theme music and Chris Tarrant's smug drone on a daily basis. I personally only think it fair that Tarrant donate a quarter of his repeat fees to his most devoted fans.
Despite difficulties however (or perhaps more as a result of) and as promised in my last blog, I spent the whole of Christmas day being mindful. I feel like as a family we all did. Ironically, despite everything, I think I can honestly say that it was one of the nicest Christmasses we have had in a very long time. And like most of my favourite films, it will always be memorable because of the darkly comedy moments throughout.
Sometimes life deals you lemons and you have no choice but to suck them up. Sometimes you are given a whole box full of lemons. And sometimes DHL arrives in an articulated lorry with a 2-year supply of lemons and a note to say they'll be back with another delivery at some point in the future (date tbc). So when the lemons are blocking your front door, back door, conservatory door and all of your windows, my advice, in the vein of Rumi's beautiful poem The Guest House, is to open the doors and windows and simply let the lemons roll in. You're stuck with them so you have got to make the most of it. I've just searched the term things to do with lemons and the list is endless; Cakes, marmalades, facemasks. And who knew it can also clean tarnished brass, soothe a Poison Ivy rash and cure Diptheria? And if all else fails, there is always tequila (though I reckon a good Lemon Drizzle cake will make you much happier...but who am I to dictate how you use your lemons?!).