Age unknown Mother, grandmother and 24/7 childminder
It is, of course, Edie who finally pulls me out of my miserable, unseasonable mood. ‘Annie,’ she says when I pick her up from school on the second to last day of term. ‘Mummy says you are making a fuss about Christmas.’
Back at the house I consider confronting Bryony about this, but think better of it because it’s true: I have been making a fuss. Instead, I sit down with Edie at the kitchen table and help her write a letter to Santa.
And suddenly I am like Scrooge on the day after he has had a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future. I pull myself together, I begin to look forward rather than backward, and I finally feel a spark of the excitement that is unique to this time of year.
Because the thing is, sad though it will be to have a Christmas without Edie (and her mummy and daddy), it will be less stressful than last year, when Bryony was struggling in rehab and I was still recovering from the fallout of my car accident.
True, there won’t be so many heartrending moments with Edie, watching her opening her stocking or the endless pile of presents that the lone child in a family will receive. But on the bright side, it won’t be a PG-rated Christmas – it will be a full-on day of grown-up indulgence. OK, it may contain occasional scenes that some people might find offensive – moderate violence from Rufus during our Mario Kart contest, or an outburst of strong language from Naomi when we are playing the name-on-the-head guessing game – but it will be fun.
So the next morning, after I have dropped Edie (dressed as a fairy for the end-of-term form party) at school, I get in my car and drive home feeling ridiculously festive. On the way I manage to buy the very last £20 Tesco living tree, and I spend the rest of the day hauling boxes of decorations down from the attic. By the time I officially turn on the Christmas lights that evening – possibly causing a surge on the National Grid – I am fully back in love with the season of goodwill. Happy Christmas!
It won’t be a PG-rated Christmas – it will be a full-on day of grown-up indulgence