I decided against a round up post for last year, I feel like there isn’t much to say. We mostly stayed home, our adventures were smaller, our stories fewer, our anxiety higher. I placed too much importance on Christmas day, thinking that a day of normality would somehow make up for nine months of not being able to hug our family or meet in the same house. I took the children out of school a week early to minimise the risk of having to miss out on the family Christmas we had planned, persuading them that missing the Christmas lunch, play and parties would be worth it for this one day together. It didn’t happen though, a last minute decision by the government to plunge all of Kent into tier 4 just days before Christmas meant a last minute dash to the supermarket (along with everyone else who hadn’t planned to cook that day) and the opportunity to plan our first Christmas at home.
Christmas is always magical with young children and all four are still fierce believers. Father Christmas was going to bring them presents much longed for, that they had given up hope of receiving and I managed to pick up all the important parts of a great Christmas meal. It was wonderful, calmer, quieter and more relaxed in some ways, but more stressful in others (I have never hosted or cooked Christmas dinner before). We were all glad to be safe at home, to have time and space to play with new gifts without time constraints and enjoy our comforts, but we all felt like something big was missing – the family we weren’t able to spend time with.
I wanted to take some candid shots of what this day looked like for us, hopefully the first and last Christmas we spend like this. The house which had been tidied in preparation for the big day soon took on the appearance of a bomb site, children decided wrapping in blankets was better than wearing actual clothes and there was way more screen time than I would have liked. We were so lucky to be safe at home, surrounded by comfort and love. Being woken up to the sound of siblings waking each other with calls of ‘Santa’s been’ will always be a favourite memory and it will certainly be a Christmas we remember.
I tried to take photographs honestly, not erasing the carnage but embracing it. I want to look back at this year not with rose tinted glasses, or thoughts of sadness at what was missed, but with the knowledge that we made amazing memories, that we grew so much together, that we laughed but that we felt sadness and loss as well. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, it wasn’t all looking for the bright side, it was a complex mix of everything.