Christmas for our family was a mixed affair. We all loved each other in our own ways but some of the family never showed it to anyone. They kept it bottled inside and it emerged as hatred. To this day I still don't know why.
I had arranged for everyone to be at my pub for early evening as it would give me time to whip up some tasty treats in the kitchen. I always imagined myself as a chef and could hold my own in the kitchen. Originally I wanted it to be a sit down meal but both my brother and his girlfriend had told me they would be having christmas dinner with Sean's son Nigel and Sean's daughter Rachel. So instead I prepared a finger buffet.
I was looking forward to this as it had been a long time since we had all been together. There was going to be my mum, my partner Nicola and her sister. My friend and barman James, my Aunty Jean, my sister Janice and her new husband. Also joining us would be Nigel and his partner, and of course Sean, Sarah and Sarah's daughter. A full house! So glad the pub was big enough!
Everyone turned up at around six o'clock in the evening and presents and cards were exchanged. I looked upon their faces and hoped that we could do it again next year and many years to come. It felt complete again.
As usual with our family, whenever we got together we spoke openly about many things. Family, past relationships, the future etc. It helped us to understand each other better. Well, for some of us anyway.
My sister Janice had always had a grudge towards mum. She had always felt that her dad was not her dad as both my mum and Janice's dad were fair skinned and she looked olive skinned. Even myself, I thought the same but my mum was adamant that her dad was her dad.
As the drinks flowed, I could see that Janice was getting more and more agitated. Maybe it was the drink in her system that made her outburst towards mum even worse. The words "You are not my mum" did not go down well with Sean at all. He tried to calm it down and everyone thought that the situation was resolved. How wrong we were.
By the end of the evening, I can say with all honesty that we were slightly tipsy. We must have been because me and my brother tied poor Nigel up and proceeded to shave off his curly locks!! Even my mum stood back and just watched us do it. Now I know you may be thinking "Oh thats evil!" but it was all in jest. We had warned him we would do it. He had sat all night with this awful beenie hat on. Even his girlfriend begged us to do it.
Time was getting late, or should i say early as it was around 1am when I phoned for taxis. The stress of getting a taxi on Boxing Day morning! What a farce. We finally managed to get enough taxis to take everyone home and we were saying our goodbyes. By the time it got around to my mum saying goodbye to Janice though? Janice completely blanked mum and said goodbye to me and Sean only. To me, from that day forth I would never talk to her again.
Just the fact that one persons action could put a dampener on what was a good night hurt more than if she had not turned up at all. On hindsight maybe we should not have invited her but it was christmas. We all deserve a second chance and she blew it.
I sat up for a while after everyone had gone with my partner, her sister and James, just talking about the night. It was the first time they had met my brother and once again he had managed to charm the socks off them.
The phrase "Could sell snow to an eskimo!" springs directly to mind.