‘Wait! What? I glanced at the calendar and saw that word. NOVEMBER. Noooo! Let’s pretend it isn’t, so Sam and ‘it’ will go away. It doesn’t feel like THAT time of the year again! Surely it isn’t time for THOSE family members to plant themselves on our doorstep and wreak havoc once again! But the calendar doesn’t lie! Damn it, do I have to entertain these individuals again? Welcome them into my home with wide open arms and a big smile on my face? If I’m frank, they’re nothing more than a big pain in the butt. My life turns into chaos as I run around day and night after these pesky, untidy little people who should know better. HELP! I’m not prepared for the hurricane of naughtiness and constant work that’s heading my way, getting closer every day.’
We all know where 2020 went and the circumstances that led us to miss almost every celebration, family ritual, and annual event that feature in our daily lives. It’s been bland, tiring and disappointing. We’ve lived in a state that can be likened to groundhog day. As hard as it has been, for adults and children alike, we don’t need to revisit ‘that topic’ again right now, for I have much bigger and pressing matters to deal with. The unrelenting question is, do I? Or don’t I?
You may wonder, ‘What are you on about?’ You may be laughing at the suggestion of welcoming family into the home! Those of you who know me may be catching onto where my thought is travelling. For those of you who have no idea, bear with me as I bring you up to speed! Let’s enter our imaginary time machine and go back in time a few years.
Five or six years ago at this time of the year, we unexpectedly welcomed a new family member into our home for a few weeks. Giving people, we know a place to sleep is a lovely gesture. In this instance, however, we welcomed a stranger, and this one small gesture has evolved into an outrageous tradition. We revisit this craziness every year as December looms and our relatively everyday family life is transformed to something resembling a little house of crazy.
I had no idea what we were getting into. We went from being a typical family one day to wake up the next, to find a miniature and oh so innocent-looking little lady, dressed in red from head to toe, in our house. She sat contentedly on the arm of our couch, arms crossed and looking as comfortable as could be. She dawned a warm smile, yet there was something about her; an uncomfortable sense that she was watching our every move. Wherever we went in our house, her eyes seemed to glare straight back. Each morning we’d wake to find her sitting in a completely different place. She would stay there all day long, smiling and always observing our every move.
Still, this little lady was harmless, at first anyway, and she must have liked us because she returned each year around about the same time, watching and moving in the dark of night. Little did we know there would be more change! We watched in amazement as she brought a friend to stay. This friend brought the worst out in our first guest; the nonsense they’d get up to was unfathomable. As if that wasn’t enough, soon the couple’s pets arrived too, and making themselves at home in our home! Anarchy had well and truly invaded us.
From this point forward, our once straightforward life turned into all sorts of crazy experiences, with any sense of normality, routine or sensibility disappearing whenever these little individuals re-appeared in our house. By now, you’re probably wondering who these inconsiderate, sometimes rude houseguests are and where did they come from?
Let me introduce you to our new family—the family, who for whatever reason, chose to visit and live with us.
Alfie, Sparkle, Hart and Glitter
Aka, our clan, our elves. They’re not just any old clan; they’re a group so special, they travel all the way from Santa’s workshop in the South Pole each year. Santa sends his elves to particular families to watch over the children, monitoring their behaviour during the leadup to Christmas. This seems ironic when I reflect on the stunts they’ve pulled in my home. The mess they never clean up, the toilet rolls all over the house, and everything else they help themselves to without a second thought.
You may have your very own “El”? Also commonly known as Elf on the Shelf, they’re becoming increasingly popular, and their population has rocketed. They’re a great idea, in theory. That is until you’re unlucky enough to inherit one of the more reckless elves. Sure, the kids love their antics and have a great laugh every morning as they get out of bed and witness the mess the elves have left behind each morning. It’s great for them; they don’t have to clean up every day! That job ultimately goes to their mum and let me assure you, by the end of December when the elves travel back to the North Pole with Santa; I’m well and truly in need of a cocktail and a holiday. Still, the kids do love their elves unconditionally and often refer to them throughout the year. They’d be devastated if the elves did not return.
In the elves’ defence, all of them arrived during a time when I was profoundly consumed by my ED. I was feeling lost, not knowing how to escape the complicated mess that was my mind. Could it be that Santa sent the elves to our home, not only for the joy of my children but also to help me? On reflection, I can see the elves have given me a great gift. Unbeknown to myself, their visits have opened my eyes and provided something other than my ED to be consumed by. They even gave me something to giggle at. Ultimately, these four little characters directed me along a path of healing. They have connected with me in a way that has enabled me to discover a healthy part of myself I never knew existed. They continue to play a crucial role as my healthy self continues to grow and expand through the healing power of creativity.
With all this in mind, back to my pressing question. I’m sure many of you have the same dilemma right now. Do I? Or don’t I? I’m conflicted. For a change of pace, stay tuned to discover how the next few weeks unfold. You will learn the answer to my question, and I might reveal some of the elves’ antics from previous visits. Beware!
Part 2 Coming Next Week!!