I've just finished wrapping my Christmas presents whilst listening to very Christmassy music. Guns N Roses. While I was wrapping certain presents, I began remembering Christmases from years ago and started laughing. So I thought I'd share some of them!
When I was young and believed in Santa, I always used to try and stay awake long enough to see him. As did my sister. I stayed awake as I wanted to see what he looked like. Our chimney wasn't exactly small but it was too small for anyone to get down so I believed he was really thin. Sort of snakelike. So I wanted to see this snakelike Santa. Also, I wanted to know how he got all his presents in his sleigh as there were billions of children around the world.
I suppose these sort of thoughts were normal for children to have. My sister however, stayed awake as she was scared of a strange man coming into the house. (And they say I'm the crazy one?!) One year, she insisted that our stockings were left in our bedroom. My parents kept on trying to come in through the night to fill our stockings but my sister kept on waking up at the sound of the door moving. In the end, my parents were exhausted and told my sister off for not going to sleep and as a punishment, our stockings were taken out from our bedroom. My sister was really upset at this. I slept straight through.
Years later, when I was working in an office, I bought my sister her Christmas present - a Cranium board game - while I was on my lunch break. People from my office and others from nearby saw the huge carrier bag and asked me what it was. I showed them the board game and one of them looked at it in an "Aww bless" way. She asked me who it was for and I told her it was for my sister. Thinking my sister was maybe 9 or 10, she asked me how old she was. Looking at the floor I told her my sister's age. 18.
Two years ago, when I was in the Rehabilitation Unit, a couple of nurses accompanied me to the nearby Poundshop as my mum had asked me to buy some Christmas decorations, the tackier the better. With the Poundshop not being nearly as tacky as I hoped it would be, I bought a few decorations and then saw a snowman decoration. This snowman had a wonky nose and only one leg but there was something about it that made me like it. I picked it up but the nurses who were escorting me told me the one behind it had two legs. I shook my head, saying that I liked the one with a missing leg. They gave me a funny look but nervously laughed. I paid for everything and was then taken back to the Unit.
Back on the Unit, a couple of the staff wanted to see what I'd bought. I showed them the decorations including the snowman. They pointed out that it only had one leg and I told them I liked him like that. I informed them that I had named him Larry and that I would take care of him so no one could make fun of his missing leg again. (Maybe it was a good job I was already on a section?!) But they could see the grin on my face so they knew I was only joking. At least, I hope they knew I was joking!
I keep Larry in my bedroom now, except at Christmas. He looking over my shoulder as I write this.
That Christmas was also the biggest surprise I'd ever given my family. I had decided that I was brave enough to go home for Christmas and spend the night at home. I had been in hospital since September the year before and although I'd been home for the previous Christmas, it was only in the day time. This Christmas though, I wanted overnight leave. I asked the psychiatrist at the unit if I could go home and he said that he would need to speak to my parents about it.
I told him that I wanted it to be a surprise but he told me he needed to speak to at least one of them. I realised that I would actually need to tell one of them so that they could get my bedroom ready for me so I asked him if he would speak to my mum only so it could be a surprise for my dad. He agreed and I cheekily asked him for three nights at home. I wanted two nights at home but used my sister's tactic of getting what I wanted and sounding reasonable at the same time. I asked for three nights so if I got the expected no and told I could have two nights, I would pretend to consider it and then say yes. I also asked for two nights at New Year in the hope of getting one night.
After putting the request in, I awaited my Section 17 leave form and nearly died when I saw it. I had been given three nights at Christmas and two nights at New Year! I phoned my mum and told her but told her to make it a surprise for my dad and my sister. She was delighted and somehow we managed to keep the secret. My sister told me that she would be with her husband's family on Christmas Eve but would try and get to our parents' home before 7:30 pm. I had told her that I had 10 hours day leave on Christmas Eve and 12 hours on Christmas Day and as I had to be back at the unit for 8 pm when out on leave, 7:30 pm was the time I had to start heading back to the unit. She tried to get me to ask for even one night of overnight leave but I told her I didn't think I could manage it. I apologised to her but as we were talking over the phone, I had a massive grin on my face.
Christmas Eve arrived and my mum came to pick me up. We had agreed that my mum would pick me up by herself so that my bag of three days worth of clothes wouldn't be noticed by my dad. I can't remember the reason my mum gave my dad for going by herself but either way, she arrived at the unit by herself and I said my Happy Christmases to the staff. They gave me my meds for the time I would be home for and my mum drove me home with the biggest smile on her face.
I got home and wanted to keep the secret until my sister hopefully arrived that evening. However, within about an hour of arriving home, I couldn't keep the secret any longer. I told my dad that I didn't have to be back at the unit until the 27th and also had two nights at New Year. He was so taken aback that he didn't know what to say. Instead I had the most amazing Daddy-cuddle I'd ever had.
I was upstairs at about 3 pm when I was tapped on the shoulder. It was my sister! She'd arrived at my parents house early so she could see me on Christmas Eve. My mum asked me if it was a nice surprise and I realised that mum was keeping secrets for both me and my sister. I took my sister downstairs and told her I had something to tell her. She looked at me in panic, thinking that I didn't have 12 hours leave on Christmas Day like I'd told her I had.
I had been hoping to drag out the news of my leave but seeing the panic on her face made me tell her quickly. Her face went from panic to amazement in half a second and she grabbed hold of me and screamed. We fell over the arm of the sofa together, right on top of the Christmas presents I had just wrapped. A couple of the presents had torn wrapping paper but none of them were damaged. However, I don't think anyone cared about the presents!
Later that night, my sister was talking to my dad about something she'd forgotten to get. My dad told her not to worry because "We have Katy. That's all that matters." I think hearing that was the greatest Christmas present I could ever receive.
So take that feelings of worthlessness!!
Happy Christmas to all of you!