A warm kind of silence fills the house this evening, the only real sound being that of her children’s gentle even breathing as they sleep and most likely dream of the joy that is Santa Clause and his impending visit.
Turning on the radio at a low volume, she picks up her blanket and wraps it around her shoulders before curling up on her settee with intentions of reading and relaxing.
As with most intentions, it doesn’t quite go to plan as her mind takes a trip down through the memories of the last twelve or so months.
Proud memories filled with the educational accomplishments of her children, and those she had accomplished herself. Hold onto with both hands memories, of dancing around the kitchen with her small family and hearing their laughter fill the air. Sitting down to dinner together and sharing stories of their days.
Heart warming memories, tucking blankets around sleepy shoulders after having small arms wound around her neck and hearing “love you mummy” whispered into her ear.
Thinking of all these times made her feel warm inside and she would hold onto them for life and never ever want them to change in the slightest.
As is becoming the common pattern these days though, she soon finds the pleasant memories are followed by the not so pleasant memories.
The bad news memories, filled with the trials and absolutely terrifying times that friends and families both near and far have had to endure. These are again coupled with the unrealistic desire that she could live closer to each and everyone of them to offer help and hugs in the hope of unburdening their shoulders if she could.
Thinking to the ones she holds in her heart leads to the memories of loneliness, as even in a house full of love, she can still find herself alone. Loneliness leads to “what ifs?”
What if she was able to tell the ones who have told her they care for her, how much she actually does feel she needs the discipline she often reads, hears and in some ways talks about?
What if she really did live closer to the ones she talks to in the small hours of the morning, the ones who freely give her the words of encouragement and comfort that they know she needs, even when they themselves have far more bigger and tougher battles to contend with?
What if, when asked the question that seems so incredibly tough to answer, she was actually able to just say yes? Yes she did need a spanking, yes she did need discipline and rules and structure, along with the hugs and the strong loving words of encouragement and comfort already mentioned?
What if she didn’t lack the courage to say yes? If she was actually able to confirm herself what they already knew before they asked her? If only to allow herself to be given that nudge to the surface and give her a buoy to hold onto to keep her from sinking under again.
During all these thoughts, the haze of unpleasantness begins to lift and the realisation that she has in previous times and perhaps sometimes in different forms already been blessed enough to have received the help she has heartbreakingly sought.
The whole memories begin to appear, feeling whole yet overwhelmed at the love and compassion shown to her by ones she would come to view as family.
Ones who showed her they loved her enough to point out when she was neglecting herself, who loved her enough to lecture over missed hours of sleep, to hug her tightly when she could no longer hide the tears.
The ones who have stepped in when she has perhaps been detrimental in her coping strategies, who have shown her that distance means nothing when you care for and believe in someone.
As she glances at the clock she realises that once again time has flown away from her, whilst she turns of the radio and checks on the children and makes sure that the house is secure for the night, she can’t help but to let her mind drift just a little more.
Only this time it drifts to a past, present and future memory, of knowing that between her small family, her incredibly strong friends and loved ones and their continued presence in her life, she is indeed truly blessed once again this Christmas.