A belated “Happy New Year” everybody.
I’d planned to write more over the Christmas break, honestly I did.
There was so much to share with you about the traditions of an Irish Christmas (midnight mass, the morning swim at the Forty Foot, tins of USA biscuits, and the making of a Christmas pudding), St. Stephen’s Day (26 December) and Little Christmas (6 January), also known as Nollaig Bheag and Woman’s Christmas. But rather than write, I took these past few weeks to spend time with family and friends.
Instead of researching, I cooked, played card games with the kids, baked, went for long walks, snuggled down and watched movies at home and, generally, had an exhausting but great time. Thankfully the end of the world didn’t happen on 21st December so there will be other opportunities to write about Irish Christmas traditions in the years ahead. There won’t, however, always be time to create memories with the ones we love.
Yes, I know that last line sounds cliché but it’s heartfelt.
In the last month, three women I know have lost children. They have lost the potential of what could have been…what should have been…and my heart grieves for them in their loss.
An unborn child. A murdered child. A child whose wee body couldn’t go on.
It’s all so senseless.
So, when life gives us situations we can’t begin to understand what do we do?
After listening, praying, offering…what’s left for those of us who are the “lucky” ones is to honour the memory of the one who has passed in whatever way we can.
My way was to gather my clan together and share in simple traditions: decorating, cooking, eating, laughing, reading, etc.
Now that Christmas, New Year and all the celebrations that go with them have passed, I notice the sun is staying higher in the sky and winter is slowly, oh so slowly, shifting towards spring. Weeks have quietly gone by in this Irish Home but I have no regrets of how we spent our holiday time together.
I hope you, Dear Reader feel the same.
And, if by chance, you do not…stop right now…and take action. Pick up the phone and say “I love you”, hug your nearest and dearest tight, dust off an old board game and gather your family around the table this evening. Say “no” to your phone, your job, your social obligations and make time for the ones you love.
Please God, and with any luck, we’ll have time to get back to all the other things we think we are missing.
Slán Abhaile (safe home).