Hurricane Sandy has certainly lived up to its Super Storm status way over in the US. Images of sharks in back yards and half peeled buildings have really shown us the true force of a pissed off Mother Nature! Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by the devastation left in its wake.
Not to be ignored, however, and closer to home, Hurricane Sandile, (Thanks Twitter for the dubbing of this one!), the absolutely bipolar weather being experienced in Durban right now, attempts to wreck havoc on a more local scale. Four seasons in one HOUR, at the moment!!! This is not what we are used to, here on the coast. This is supposed to be summer. I know this because even though the sky is dark and miserable, and the heavens open every ten minutes or so to spew out icy rain, hail, and the odd crack of thunder and lightening bolt, and EVERY social network news feed is littered with the moans and whines and laments of wet and miserable people complaining about the weather, Boney M is playing in the shops. This is my glimmer of hope.
Boney M in the shops can and does mean only one thing... Christmas is around the corner!! I am a total pain in the rear end to everyone around me (particularly my long suffering husband!), at this time of year. I love Christmas, and everything it stands for, everything it means - from the Birth of Jesus, to the coming together of family and friends, and the celebration of traditions. I adore Christmas carols. Every year Warren hides my Boney M CD, and every year I buy a new one. Boney M was always the LP of choice playing whenever we decorated the Christmas tree for as far back as I can remember. Thanks mom for this one! Its a tradition I force on my kids and anyone within a listening radius! Luckily for me both my kids love carols, and luckily for me and everyone around me, my kids can actually carry a tune (unlike me!). So as soon as it is not completely ludicrous to do so, I will haul out all the carol CD's, and slowly start irritating Warren with my insistence on playing them.
I can't wait to start decorating my new house for Christmas. I now have banisters and a proper mantle over my fireplace! It sounds silly, but I get ridiculously excited at the thought of reams of holly trailing down my stairs, and a gorgeous fireplace framed in Christmas bling! The Advent calendar (very important to my kids!); Christmas crafts; Christmas shows; Carols by Candlelight; Carols with Dolphins (Ushaka - a show not to be missed!); Christmas Panto's; Carols at my kids schools; Christmas baking (hauling out my Gran's old recipes which have been the foundation of the tradition of Christmas baking in my house); Christmas shopping and gift wrapping; Christmas Eve and Day planning; long, hot weekends spent with family and friends around the pool; holiday planning and embarking on - I am an absolute SUCKER for this time of year!!
This year, more so than any other year, I have expectations. Expectations which I hope are not unrealistic or lead to crushing disappointment. I am looking forward to this time of year not just for all the tangible reasons, but for over riding personal, emotional reasons. It has not been a good year for my relationship with my sister. Things have not been great and our close relationship, one we had finally cemented after years of strife, came under assault in the middle of the year, for reasons too arduous to delve into now. She has since given birth to twin boys (her second set), and the arrival of these two little angels has encouraged us to slowly come together again. I am looking forward to this wonderful time of year to help the healing and to give us plenty of opportunities to start again. I am counting on the magic of the season to over ride past hurts.
My kids are at that in between believing stage of their lives right now. They are too skeptical to believe in Santa Clause (an unfortunate sign of our times - kids growing up far too quickly :(, and losing their unquestioning belief in magic), yet are too wise to admit to me that they know he isn't real. They are, however, old enough to understand the true meaning of Christmas. Charity, toy donations, Santa's Shoes Boxes - they participate in them all (one, unfortunately, more willing than the other;)). They are at the perfect age where the penny has dropped, and they are able to see the bigger picture. This year will be extra special in this regard. I honestly believe if we don't nurture and encourage this philanthropic side in our children when they are young, we stand no chance in the long term. Although it is a year round endevour, some how at Christmas it just seems more poignant. A glimmer of hope for the future.
Enough of this miserable bone chilling, wet and windy weather! The sliver of blue that peeks out every now and again is my glimmer of hope that things will improve. The weather, the season, life, love and everything in between! If we harness this hope, focus on it, instead of lamenting about the drudgery of more rained out cricket matches, a constant stream of wet socks and miserable house-bound kids, washing that won't dry and boots and jackets that were (prematurely) packed away having to be hauled out again, we will miss out on the excitement of what is just around the corner. So stop moaning about the weather, crank up Boney M, and start untangling those Christmas lights. I'm Just Saying...