It has been one of those years when nothing seemed
to go to plan and everyone's life was a little out
of control. New jobs for some, overseas trips for
others, Health not so good for others - and work,
work, work. Birthdays have come and gone and the
year has been filled with celebrations and some
The months have just flown by and each of them
have brought memories to store and not all of them
good ones or easy to deal with.
Christmas this year will be different too - it
seems we have family scattered all over the world
and this will be the first time we will not have
all been together. I am concerned as to how I will
cope. I have coped with the departures and
cherished the phone calls, read and re-read the
emails and looked at the photographs again and
again. These things have kept Cleo and Josh close
and made it easier to deal with. They have been
gone since May and each month has been difficult
And now here we are at Christmas time - shopping
all done, the trees are decorated and the lights
are lit. Cooking is all done and everything seems
normal - but there is this feeling inside me that
I am just going through the motions.
I know I have to let them go but why does it seem
so hard at special times of the year - Tom has
been great and so too has Zoe who misses her
sister very much indeed.
Zoe is our Christmas Addict - she loves it all the
tinkling bells, the tinsel, lights and trees and
all the hustle and bustle of shopping late and
wrapping parcels late into the night, but even she
doesn't seem to have the same spark tonight. So,
here I am quite alone sitting in the light
radiated from the Christmas tree, listening to
music and trying so hard to bring my soul some
As I sit here I reflect on other Christmas seasons
when the children were small and we would look for
Santa, leave carrots for the reindeer and it would
take what seemed forever for them to get to sleep.
I thought of other Christmas mornings when the
excitement was high and the noise very high. The
mornings when breakfast was forgotten and all
sorts of sweet things eaten.
I can recall Christmas carols being sung and
reading to them each Christmas Eve that special
story "T'was the night before Christmas, when all
through the house, not a creature was stirring not
even a mouse." I can still see their little faces,
bright eyes and sleepy smiles as they fought so
hard not to give in to sleep.
It was getting late and that special Christmas
hush was falling around our home. Looking out of
the window onto the garden I could see shadows
cast by a beautiful moon.
It is lovely to have all these Christmas lights,
but when everyone else is in bed it becomes quite
a chore getting them turned off, and windows
closed for the night.
I think I will stay for just a few minutes more
and then face what I anticipate will be another
sleepless night. I wonder where they are and what
they are doing on the other side of the world -
probably still shopping as our time zone is hours
ahead of theirs. They still have Christmas Eve to
enjoy in their little flat with its tiny Christmas
tree. I wonder will it snow and will this be a
white Christmas for them. I remind myself that
tomorrow I shall have to put more energy into the
celebration to make it wonderful for Tom and Zoe.
I really must try to sleep.
We don't live on a busy road, but I hear a few
cars travelling home probably loaded up with gifts
which have been hidden away for this wonderful
night. I'll leave the lights and get ready for
bed, clean my teeth and then turn them off and get
off to bed.
I hear what I think is another car - don't
remember when it has been this busy for a while.
Our neighbours have gone to visit their family
interstate for the holiday season and yet I hear
what I think is a car door. I am imagining things
I am sure of that. I turn off the window lights
and the outside lights which just leaves the
subdued lights of the Christmas tree blinking in
silent homage to this special night.
Now I am imagining things again - I am almost
certain I hear laughter, or rather giggling. But
what a ridiculous thought. I turn off the lights
and climb the stairs and just as I start to climb
into bed - the doorbell rings. Who on earth could
this be at this time of night and whatever is
wrong? Tom stirs and moves past me and Zoe appears
at her door looking tousled from sleep.
I follow Tom down the stairs aware that Zoe is
behind me - I call out to Tom to be careful. He
does not open the door but calls out "Who is
there?" No response just a shuffle - I am getting
very scared. The doorbell rings again and Tom
calls out again and this time there is a rather
"MERRY CHRISTMAS MUM AND DAD - let us in."!
My heart is racing as I move to the door for a
moment having panicked thoughts.I look at Tom and
Zoe and see the smiles on their faces.
"Open the Door Anna".
I open the door and my daughter rushes into my
arms, then into her Dad's. I turn and look at Tom
and Zoe and suddenly realize that they knew all
along about my special Christmas gift and its late
Not much sleep this Christmas Eve - the kettle is
on and tea is made - these two young people have
been travelling for two days to be home for
This will means that when sleep finally comes for
me - there will be "visions of sugar plums dancing
in my head". Such a special, thoughtful gift
planned by a loving and caring family so that we
could all be together for Christmas. Josh's family
will get their surprise on Christmas night when
his family gathers and they walk in there too.
Indeed both families are blessed to have such
Linda J. Vaughan
The Pages of Avalon