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  • Gareth Ellis

Christmas Chaos 2022

For everyone reading this I hope you had a happy and healthy Christmas and are already enjoying a fantastic start to the New Year.

Christmas is a time where families should come together, spend precious time in each other’s company and have some time to rest, decompress and regroup.

For us, we were lucky to enjoy a lot of that – but in a lot of ways it was very, very tough.

Let me start with the good parts. This was the first Christmas that both children understood what was going on. They’ve loved the decorations, the parties at pre-school, the Christmassy clothes and of course the food. They really enjoyed decorating the tree and seeing the lights every day, and they got a huge kick out of a LOT of the Christmas films (especially Elf and the Grinch.)

I have loved watching their little faces light up (excuse the pun) at the idea of presents and spending time with their grandparents – and without any spoilers we actually got to see them all.

But in that I have to explain where some of the toughness came in. The best way to do that is with a bit of a timeline – I’ll be as succinct as possible, I promise. Plus, before I start, I should caveat the remainder of this blog with the fact that I know there are people who have had it or do have it worse than we did.

December 16th – the kids had a wonderful time at their pre-school Christmas party.

December 17th – Rupert wakes up and is sick, meaning Jess has to cancel plans for a Christmas afternoon tea with her closest friends. On top of that, we had to cancel our trip to see Santa that morning! Absolutely gutted, although they didn’t know we were going so at least they didn’t realise what they were missing out on.

December 18th- anxiety for me starting to build. I’d planned to keep the kids safe from getting poorly before Christmas and I was worried that a sickness bug would curtail our plans to travel 120 miles to Lancing to see their grandparents (I know, first world problems, right?)

December 19th – 48 hours after Rupert was first sick, we thought it was safe to send Rupert to his Grandad’s in MK (he’d been fine in himself throughout it all.) He was sick, again. Cue a few more days of isolation and trying to nurse him back to health.

December 22nd – On the Thursday, with Rupert completely better, Emi throws up at 4.30am – cue even more anxiety as fear sets in that actually our Christmas plans may have to change (at that time we had no food for Christmas dinner.)

December 23rd – I went out to buy food for us to take to see my in-laws. At that point we were trying to stay positive and hope that 72 hours was enough time for Emilia to recover so we could leave on Christmas morning, as planned.

December 25th – Nope. At 4.30am on the dot, around 72 hours after the last time she’d been sick, we woke up to the sound of Emi crying, and retching. We then spent the next hour of our Christmas morning washing sheets, clothes, and our daughter – a little bit heartbroken. However, we still realised we had to make the day as good as possible for our two little ones, despite how we were feeling. So, we opened presents, made breakfast, and acted as happy as we could.

At this point I wanted to shout out my Dad. He’s one of those people who usually takes things in his stride at the best of times (usually it’s me asking if he can pick the kids up from pre-school THAT day.) But after I spoke with him at around 11am he said, without flinching, ‘do you want to come to mine? I’ve got plenty of food.’ Imagine that, inviting four more people for Christmas dinner in a few hours without batting an eyelid. Literally saved our Christmas and we were extremely grateful. I mean, I already know how lucky I am.

Emi seemed fine in herself, but we figured that if she was sick, we were less than 10 minutes from home as opposed to two hours.

December 26th – We decided to take a risk, get in the car, and make the journey to Lancing. We figured that the regret we’d feel by not trying would be more than the regret if she was sick on the journey. We made it, after a three hour trip, and had a lovely day seeing family. The kids ran around like loonies and had a lovely time, so we thought we were over the worst.

December 27th – Nope. 1.30am Emi throws up again. By 8.30am we were packed up and, in the car, heading home again, less than 24 hours after we’d arrived. You just couldn’t make it up. We just couldn’t stay and risk giving it to the family.

So, like I said, a Christmas that wasn’t exactly what we had planned and not without stress, but one that included everything that the holidays are about – family, fun and being together with the people you love the most.

Roll on a little bit more luck in 2023.

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