December 24th, Number Fifteen.
Christmas Eve feels different this year. NJ has suddenly decided he’s too old to believe in Father Christmas. He announced it this morning as Holly and Joe argued over the red stocking.
It rather stunned the rest of us. My dear hubby certainly found it amusing. Well, he has that sense of humour. I personally found Nick’s face funnier. NJ didn’t seem to understand why we were both laughing so hard.
I told him to choose a stocking anyway, and later I asked Nick what he thought. He just smiled that infuriating smile at me, the one which makes me simultaneously want to kiss him and slap him.
“Ivy, he’s twelve. Every other child in the world stops believing in Santa long before his age.”
“When did you stop?” I asked.
“My dear, I never stopped, as you well know.”
“Well, NJ has. Are you going to talk to him? The last thing we want is him ruining Christmas for the little ones.”
Nick assured me he would, but of course, he won’t. I know him too well. He will be up to eyes in work, as usual, and then the kids will go to bed and that will leave me to fill the stockings with the presents I chose and I wrapped.
The fact that I am the one carrying out this tradition every year never fails to strike me as ironic. My dearest mother-in-law of course makes it her business to point out that when she was married to Nick’s father, he always took care of all the Christmas preparations. But then, considering the family business almost went bankrupt when he was in charge, I suppose he can’t have put in all the time and effort that my husband does.
Of course, I would never say this to her face. There are a lot of things I would love to say to her face but could never dare, not even after three glasses of mulled wine. One of them is currently sidling into the bedroom, giving me a mournful look. I suppose Nick must have chased him out of his study.
It’s harder to write now Rudolph has settled down on my lap. He was a present to the children last year from aforementioned mother-in-law. While they continue to adore him, Nick and I quickly grew tired of the holes being chewed in everything – slippers, sofa, curtains … I swear the damn dog even had a go at the Christmas tree yesterday, it looked lop-sided near the bottom and he had pine needles stuck in his fur.
I know I am far from being the only person in the world who cannot stand the run-up to Christmas. That does not mean that I am cold-hearted, just married to a man who is unavailable for most of December. And November and October and September as well, come to that.
Still, tomorrow is Christmas Day. I look forward to it in the ever-optimistic hope that NJ will forget his age and enjoy himself, Nick won’t be too exhausted to help with the turkey, and his mother will have lost her voice.
Well, a woman can dream, can’t she?
– I. Clause
Copyright Alex Harlequin 2012