Kate's Blog

Follow me if you will as I try to navigate through the ups and downs of my world.

I'm writing this blog to help me make sense of all that has happened - from my diagnosis with non-Hodgkins lymphoma while pregnant with my third child in May 2008
, through to my reflections on chaotic family life as I try to pick up the pieces of my life again.

The kids are so small, and I'm working hard to keep us all safe and to stay in remission.

Stay with me - it won't be all doom and gloom I promise!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

This Christmas

It'll be turkey on Christmas Day - I'm making chestnut and sausage stuffing, my lovely roast potatoes (I hope they'll be lovely!), lots of other bits and pieces and chocolate prune and armangnac pudding with rum butter. It's my first Christmas Day in my own home with just us and the kids. My first Christmas day where I'm in charge instead of my mother. And I'm excited. I want it to be perfect.

We're off to stay with my mum, my brother and sister, their partners and my four small nephews on Boxing Day - and that'll be lovely too. The kids all adore each other; seven cousins aged between 7 and 6 months, with another coming in March, will certainly make for chaos. Proper family chaos that's for sure!

Due to my German heritage, Christmas Eve is important to us too. We exchange our presents entirely on Christmas Eve around a tree festooned with lit candles (try buying the tree candle holders anywhere in this country..... I've had to resort to ebay!), and we eat bockwurst and potato salad with rollmops. I'm not making the Stollen though - that's still the domain of my mum who makes perfect batches - I hope enough to take one home for us. We have a magical Christmas angel who comes to light the candles on the tree when it gets dark while the kids outside the room press their ears to the door to see if they can hear her speak or catch a glimpse of her out of a window as she flies away. When I was a child, Father Christmas didn't figure at all in our Christmas, he was always a mystery to me really; but for my kids I've had to build him into the story -without Father Christmas things are too complicated at school and with their friends, so now he comes and leaves the stockings later on Christmas Eve. In that way we can leave a mince pie and a glass of whisky for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer.... and attempt to amalgamate the two traditions. I'm always confused though and have to remind myself who does what - when I was a child the Angel came back to leave the stocking!

I'm coming up to two years in remission. This year I'm going to a New Year's Eve party. I haven't felt able to since the diagnosis. Two years ago at Christmas I was going through radiotherapy -and due to my poor prognosis I had very little confidence that I would be around for the next Christmas. Last Christmas I was still hounded by profound anxiety and ill health. This Christmas I think I believe I might just be here for the next. That's progress for me. I think I can face this New Year with new optimism. Life's a scary business that's for sure.


Nick said...

I am also German (well, my father was) and we did the German christmas traditions as well. i wrote about it on my blog at a new German - American community site I just started, I'd love to hear how similar your christmas traditions are (or aren't!)

Frohe Weinachten!

German American Heritage - Christmas Traditions

Anita said...

I enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions. Sounds like the celebrations will be wonderful and memorable. I hope you'll show some pictures on your future posts.
And may you be FOREVER blessed with continued remission with no signs or reasons to worry.

diney said...

I love the idea of the two traditions being kept alive side by side! The German traditions sound wonderful - sounds a great Christmas for you all! Enjoy cooking the meal yourself - this is the first time since I've been married that I won't be cooking turkey, or anything at all, as we are going out to the pub down the lane! Can't wait!!

Rebecca S. said...

I was reading a letter written by Coleridge from Germany, in which he talks about this strange and wonderful tradition involving a "Christmas bough" full of candles and presents, and realized it is the Germans who began these wonderful traditions we enjoy now. But you already knew that. My parents only have candles on their tree, too. I was once home for Christmas and the tree was so beautiful! I hope your first Christmas at home is perfect and that the whole holiday you are filled with joy and hope! Congratulations on two years in remission! Mmmmm...stollen...I really need to learn to make that.

Meghan said...

oh, kate. i love the 2 year mark. i've been reading about your journey for at least a year now and i am so thankful to sense a tinge of relief in your writing. Merry Christmas!!!

Tracey said...

Mince pie and whiskey? Wow. I hope Father Christmas (which is a much better name, by the way) doesn't tell Santa Claus. Here, he only gets milk and cookies. Mommy finished the whiskey after Christmas shopping.

Two year! Woot, woot. I say go to the New Years party. Wear red.

purpletrumpet said...

have a fantastic christmas celebrating life xx