Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas For One.

This year is going to be my first Christmas alone. Well not completely alone. It'll be me and the dogs, who are almost as demanding as people. But it's the first year that I have ever celebrated sans humans. Mr Grumpy and the boys are off to Queensland (QLD) to see my in-laws  Unfortunately, QLD and I, or more correctly, hot humid weather plus no AC and I, do not get along. Add in the travel factor and it's pretty much a non-starter for me. Surprisingly (well surprisingly to many), I am not overly concerned about being alone on Christmas, although my extended family are having minor strokes at the thought. Instead, I'm looking at it from a very positive slant. (I told my lovely phlebotomist today I was having a solo Christmas and week this year, and she was as equally excited, listing off all the fantastic benefits of being sans family, this is why I love her. Well that and the fact she can find my veins every time).

You see it's been many a year since we've been up to QLD thanks to my health issues and that's where all Mr Grumpy's family hail from. After much nagging encouraging on my behalf, he finally booked tickets for himself and the boys to head up there for the week. Here's hoping they enjoy themselves.

Why am I am glad they are going? It's simple. They need a break. A break from me and the stress of organising their lives around my health issues. They need to be free of being carers for their decrepit wife and mother. They need a chance to just relax. I want that for them. I want my youngest to swim to his hearts content. I want my eldest to have his first beer with his uncle. I want Mr Grumpy to flake out in front of the TV and watch the Boxing Day Test. I want them to go out for tea if they want, free of worrying about whether I can attend, or if I'll be able to eat anything on the menu. I want them to head out to the beach or for an ice cream. I want them to have normal for a while. I want them to be free of the stress of me, even if only for a week.

It's not to say I am a constant burden. I don't need my hand held everyday or need someone to scrub my back in the shower (although I know Mr Grumpy would be up for that one!) But I know that I, and my health, are a constant unspoken presence that plays in the back of their minds. They need a break from that, and I want it for them.

Personally, I am looking forward to be alone. I know that sounds weird. But everything I do in life, I now do accompanied. I don't go to the shops or even the post office alone. It's never just me. As someone who valued their independence, always needing a hand holder can be claustrophobic at times. It's got nothing to do with the person holding my hand. I am grateful every day that I have a family who support me as I know there are many who are doing this very much alone. But some days I could scream from frustration at not being able to do regular every day activities alone. I am a 39-year-old woman who needs someone to take her to the doctor or the hairdresser, or to simply look at clothes at a local boutique. I feel a burden. I can't relax as I feel like I am wasting their time, even though I know they don't think of it in that way. But my own guilt is a powerful force and it often gets in the way of reason.

A week by myself means that not only am I not inconveniencing anyone else, but I can do things when I want. If I want to have breakfast at midday or dinner at 10pm I can. I can watch the carols without the constant commentary and whinging from the peanut gallery. If I need to sleep I can, safe in the knowledge that I don't have to be organising meals or doing loads of washing. If I want to pot a plant, or paint a picture or watch crap TV I can without having to worry about saving up enough energy to organise family chores like food. I can eat chocolate cake for breakfast or subsist on only ham and turkey for a week and it wont bother anyone. I can swan around in my undies if it's hot or play my apparently annoying music as loud as I want. I may not leave the house for the week as I am still unable to drive more than about 5minutes, but there is a freedom involved that is hard to explain unless you are chronically ill and dependent on others.

The Christmas aspect is kind of a side issue in comparison. Though not cooking the huge Christmas meal and having to put on my happy face whilst I can feel my body dying on the inside, for the extended family, will be lovely. Having to maintain my cool to assuage the fears of others is a burden I wont miss. No doubt on the day I will miss Mr Grumpy and the boys, and I reserve the irrational right to get shitty that they are out to dinner at a restaurant, but knowing they are having a great and relaxing time away will make up for that ten fold. Plus, I can always binge on chocolate to soothe any sookiness. And the dogs aren't going to judge me as I sit as a blubbering mess surrounded by empty chocolate boxes. (Not that this is my plan. I intend to be relaxing and enjoying myself, but it's always good to have a caveat in there somewhere).

I have my food worked out. There is to be duck and turkey and ham. There is to be seafood. I am even thinking of taking the risk and making a mojito or a margarita. I have planned my GF chocolate cake/pudding substitute. Because it is all about the food. I wonder if I can teach Thor to pull a cracker?

My emergency plans are sorted, both health and bushfire.

I can't wait to hermit it for a week.

Now if I can keep my parents from freaking out and landing on my doorstep it should all be good. I have been firm, but it seems they are having trouble with understanding that I want some me time or that I am fine about being alone. Yet again it is only Mr Grumpy and the boys who get it, and get me. Maybe I can get him to sit them down and have the talk.

Here's wishing everyone a merry and joyous Christmas. May you have a symptom minimal day and have nothing but love, laughter and happiness.

Merry Christmas from the Land down Under.

(source: news.com.au)
Michelle :)

PS I will be having a bit of a blogging/social media break for a few weeks. Time to sit back and smell the roses. Should be back mid-January.

And a little Australian Christmas Tune from the fabulous Paul Kelly.


  1. I get it. Totally. And this post is yet another reason why I adore you so. Now screw the sugar plum fairies....I'm going to dream of you swanning about in your panties tonight!

    1. And that comment is exactly why I love you too. Hope you have a fabulous Chrissy and New Years. xx

  2. Firstly, love that song. Well done. I totally understand where you are coming from. Chris is going to Ballarat for the week between Christmas and New Year and I'm kind of looking forward to it. There's so much freedom in not having to organise and cook meals or clean up after him and all I have to worry about is me and the animals and making sure I have enough stocks of food to make it through the week. There's always the emergency phonecall to mum if I happen to run out. I wish I could get out of Christmas and my brother's birthday (Boxing Day) as well but alas, I'm not that lucky!
    Totally agree about the loss of independence too. It was by far the most difficult thing for me to come to terms with.
    Merry Christmas to you. I hope you and the dogs have a quiet, excellent one (can't see them getting through the day without getting some tinsel wrapped around their necks though!)

  3. I totally get it. The holidays are a time for people to get away--go on vacation--unwind from the stresses of their lives. But when your illness because everyone else's stress--sometimes the best thing you can do is let them get away for a while! My boyfriend just had to spend his whole week off from work visiting me in the hospital and my mom almost cancelled her vacation for next week (I'm supposed to go in for surgery in the next week or two). Luckily, we worked it out so she won't have to. It's just a terrible feeling though--to know that sometimes the best things you can do for the people you love is to just give them ample space to breathe every once in a while! Still--Alone time for me = time to sleep and rest and actually have a few hours to sit and enjoy my body and non-flaring symptoms! Enjoy your mini-break!

  4. Enjoy your week!! I feel where you are coming from. There is definately a difference between enjoying alone time. All to often people associate being alone with lonliness...two totally different things. I too enjoy alone time, that's why I get up in the morning before the gems to get in some time to myself. I recently went on a business trip with the hubs. We had the opportunity to stay at a beach resort while on this business trip. We went to dinner at the boss' house one night and one of the guys asked me what I was going to do with myself the next day while my hubs was at his meeting. He asked me if I was going to enjoy the beach or pool or do some shopping (they don't really know of my illness and the fact that I don't drive). I told him I was just going to relax in the room for the day. I so enjoyed that day, in the room, by myself, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. So, wishing you a very Merry Christmas complete with dogs and loud music :)

  5. TOTALLY understand.

    Enjoy your break my lovely.

  6. I know I haven't been around for a very very long time. I totally totally understand..... xx

  7. I'm a firm believer in the important of alone time (and I'm not just saying that because I'm the most introverted introvert ever created!) and the (generally, in my experience) positive effect it can have on our health. I hope that your relatives respected your wishes and left you in peace, to enjoy a few much needed days of tranquility and "me time".

    Happy holiday wishes! Here's to the hope that 2013 is as positive a year for you (and all of us) as possible, dear lady!

    ♥ Jessica


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