Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project December

I know it's embarrassingly late but I wanted to post about our Christmas even though by the time this finally sees the light of the internet people are starting to talk about spring. We had a surreal festive season. One minute we were deliriously excited, counting down the minutes until my sister and her family arrived for a whole week of fun and the next we were in bed, having just woken up and on the phone to my mother in law, with some bad news. 

You know when the phone rings unusually early or late and you get that panic feeling rise in your chest? Well I didn't really have it for the first few seconds it was only when I heard her say faintly as Rich held the phone to his ear "We are in hospital, it's Dad." and I gripped Rich's hand so tightly like we needed to brace ourselves for her next words. 

He'd had a terrible fall. Broken ribs, a broken bone in his neck and was incredibly badly bruised, not to mention cracking his head on a marble floor. And in an instant it felt like time had stopped. You know when the scale of a problem seems so huge you actually go completely blank. Like your mind can't process it and everything goes white for a few minutes. And then it goes into fast forward. Packing bags, frantic phone calls and everyone tearing around the house, Rich stuffing clothes into a bag, me trying to feel like I was helping making up snacks and the boys hurriedly making get well cards because there was no time to buy one and they wanted to make sure Grandad had one to open that day. 

My father in law is a remarkable man, he is the anchor in the family and in the weeks and now months that has passed since his accident he has shown the boys nothing but bravery, even though I am sure there must be days when being brave is too hard. His vulnerability has made them love and respect him more if that makes any sense at all. 

Sammy started crying the other day in the middle of a restaurant at dinner and left the table. We called to him thinking he was running off to the toilet and he turned around and said sheepishly, like he was in trouble, "I was just thinking about Grandad and it made me cry."

I sort of feel guilty posting these photos because in between these snapshots, the 6 minutes outside the front door on the mildest 25th of December morning I can ever remember and the 30 seconds before we raced into the pantomime, we were all so worried and could barely talk about anything else. The boys had an emotional rollercoaster as so did we all. We all work as one big unit, on birthdays and big occasions. Natty has known my in laws since she was 14. It's really a lifetime. But we did give Logi Bear a magical first Christmas and for a poorly boy he was on top form and gave us so many giggles and precious moments.

Seeing someone you love in pain is scary and grounding. Sammy in particular has had his first real heart breaking moment. We walked into the hospital on Boxing Day, and after giving them a pep talk in the car about not being too loud, not leaning on Grandad too much, they tip toed in, dressed in protective aprons and gloves and I couldn't have felt prouder. I knew they were nervous, seeing their Grandad lying in a neck brace, not able to properly talk, but they walked to each side of the bed, past their little Christmas tree stuffed with their homemade decorations they'd given to Rich to take in on Christmas Eve to cheer him up, and held his hands. 

We lifted Ollie up and over the bed, so he didn't lean on my father in law's chest and his broken ribs and he gave him a kiss, the boys held up each of his presents we'd brought from under the tree and they dived into their gift bags that we had kept back so my father in law got to see their reactions. Boys who were ecstatic with new dressing gowns and Minecraft caps. I don't think it's often that a hospital room is full of wrapping paper, a sea of recycling all over the floor but if it gave their Grandad even 2 minutes of joy in such a horrible week it was the right thing to do. 

We did have some wonderful moments, we tried to give my mother in law as lovely an evening on Boxing Day as possible, in between visiting hours. We played games half laughing half almost in tears at the severity of the situation and half at how surreal it felt, trying to give the children a lovely time while feeling so sad that he was lying there on his own all night.

But the most important thing is that he's here, lucky if you can think of it like that, that he only broke those bones. That in time they will heal and we will make Christmas 2017 the one he missed out on.

It doesn't really matter where you live, where you go on holiday, how fancy your clothes are, it's your health that matters most. And I look at these boys in this picture and feel so grateful for our little ox's. 

Now I know the link up closed... well last year... but if you have time pop over and see what all these other families got up to over the festive season. I adore seeing all the little ones dressed up, the lazy days in between Christmas and new year and all the big family group shots. It turns out that not only do most of the country eat exactly the same dinner at almost exactly the same time but we take exactly the same photos!

Christmas doesn't always go to plan but it's what you take from it into the new year that is most important. For us that's our family. And that's why however late I am with these posts I always want to publish them, my record of my now not so little boys!

LifeRichard Heath7 Comments