I have been making a list, checking twice, three times and adding stuff to it constantly. I have fretted about whether it's enough, I have forgotten essential ingredients and not sourced others ( today it is silky tofu....)and completely exhausted myself at the shops. Yes you are right my Christmas break has started! Just one more sleep till my daughter arrives and to the FiREBUGS (my sons band) Christmas concert too.
I am like so many of us, I find the task of writing cards overwhelming and plan to write witty inserts but generally fail to do it. But I do love getting them. And all the little catch up notes inside are really welcome. One of my friends of many years has just started to work as a breast care nurse and I know she will have great empathy. Her mother has had breast cancer and her sister died far to young in life too after a late diagnosis. What an impact on her family....she will have much to offer.
I also heard that the daughter of my friend who died ten years ago now has had her first baby and the baby has her name as her middle name. I have felt so uplifted by that, so good to know she will continue in this way. If she has her grandmothers genes she will be full of a creative zest for life and interest in others. But I hope she hasn't inherited any genetic predisposition to breast cancer of course .It's such a recurrent fear for me that I may have passed on a tendency to breast cancer to my daughter. Our work in Breakthrough Breast Cancer is vital to enable us to break this cycle for all families. It seems strange that news on Christmas cards is one of my reminders this week. A reminder too of how common this condition is and how widespread the impact I guess. Our family history guidelines are such a valuable source of information for families who worry as I do. In many situations they will reassure and for others they will give valuable information to act on. Do have a look a them on line at www.breakthrough.org.uk
Prior to finishing work I know I was feeling pretty flat. A combination of tiredness and that six months the realisation that it all really happened. There is a sense of unreality that carries you through for a while and once that passes the realities must be faced. And my reality could be so much worse so really I am so grateful for that. But I am a little fragile at times. Show me a sad film and get the waterproofs out. I even ended up bubbling at Antiques Roadshow....and I scoffed too when others admitted to this! The military wives choir has me in bits....seeing these women who live in the shadows so much finding their voice in this way is inspiring. I too have experienced the power of singing to uplift the spirit. We attended a Christmas concert in one of Edinburgh's cathedrals. A stunning but freezing setting. One of my favourites is In the Bleak midwinter...what can I say, it's the Scottish genes I think! But singing helps lift me, as does exercise and time with those I love so this next week I will hope to do all three:-)
Also my daughter is arriving with Molly her newly adopted rotund Jack Russell. Not sure what Koshka will say to that! The good news for Molly is she is coming not only to dog lovers for Christmas but meat eaters too! The great thing about dogs is the unconditional love they offer....so lovely if you are feeling the need for it.
So if you too are feeling a bit like me, seek out the people and places and activities that lift you and be a wee bit selfish when you need to.
Reasons to be cheerful. It's my first Christmas for a few years when I will have my children home together so I am looking forward to that so much. My Mum will be with us and more family arrive on Boxing day so it will be lovely to see them all. Also I have touched base with family and good friends who have given me love and support this year. That has meant so much. So I want to thank all of you who have travelled alongside me this year....and to wish all of you a wonderful festive season. You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd better not pout........