You had a turbulent day in work, a fraught journey home and now you’re sat on the sofa in your jeans and sweater after devouring some pasta with your hubby. You pop each wary foot into your slippers with the wool as light as marshmallows around your heels.
The kettle is on and the cork has popped. You’re indecisive as to whether the crystal wine glass sits best in the cradle of your hand or the new pottery you were bought as a wedding gift. As you lift the toasty handle of the kettle from the stove the door bell rings and you blindly pull on the brass knob.
Its your husband’s best friend, Mark. A familiar and gentle face who puts his index finger to his mouth and gestures you to “Sssshhh” before showing a card scribbled with sharpie pen. The card reads “Tell him it’s just carol singers”.
Mark presses the clunky button on a portable hi fi which plays the song ‘Silent night’ at a mellow volume. In his hand he holds cards expressing beautiful sweet messages. Caring, loving, confidence boosting pretty words confessing his undying love for you. Followed by his own admission that this random and slightly strange act is all said and done “without hope or agenda”.
Your eyes and heart swell a little when the words “to me, you are perfect” pop up on a sharpie scribbled card. A part of you feels flattered another part feels pity for Mark.
For a golden moment you’re in this situation whole heartedly one hundred percent at that front door in your marshmallow-esque slippers. He is looking into your eyes and it’s all so sweet you’re delighted with yourself for being such a goddess. A desirable goddess.
Then, just as you begin to set off and run after Mark down the cobbled streets of hipster London, thinking about his unrequited love and the sincerity of it all, you are sucked back into reality like the suction of a fish tank.
Three kids are at your ankles and the man at the door is not a replica of Mark from the movie ‘Love Actually’. It is the post man with his tracking device under your nose requesting “Can you pop your signature on this, love?”. He has an expectant look in his eyes asking you to hold a parcel for your neighbour who has the audacity not to be in.
The whistling of the kettle and clink of a wine glass is, in real time, the ping of the microwave to tell you the kids baked beans are piping hot and your husband of thirteen years is yelling from upstairs “Can someone grab me a towel from the hot press!? NOW!”.
The neighbour’s parcel is so large the post man has to wedge himself and it inside the hallway only for it to hit one of the small minions at your feet.
Your ten toes which are not inside brand new 100% sheep wool slippers but they look up at you dressed in tattered socks. Odd socks at that. Ugly old socks that you can’t decide who they belong to. Your freezing towel-less husband at the top of the bannister or the ten year old who thinks his Xbox has arrived a day early.
Well, it was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it? Dreamy, pleasant and all gooey inside like warm chocolate sauce. For a second you believed that you were “the one that got away”. It was a little bit special.
All is not lost. As a student my friend Holly and I watched Love Actually (the dvd version- no Netflix or Amazon prime) on repeat in the run up to Christmas. It still features along with ‘The holiday’ once late November hits. They’re classics that my husband and kids don’t share the same joy for, but they are indented on my brain and bring me such happiness.
We may not have snow on tap in Northern Ireland- more like sludge after two hours of resting on our pavements or country roads, but we do have romance.
Your evenings may not begin with crystal wine glasses and chardonnay or taking your time to eat a bowl of pasta over a box set. But you, my friend, can still be reminded of your worth at any time of the year.
They say a puppy is not just for Christmas and neither is a kind word or two to boost your mood and to help you dig deep into the little things that make you special and unique.
Take heed when I say “to me, you are perfect”. Words can be frivolous and words can be dangerous. Christmas is a time when we throw about sayings, carols, texts and tuneless karaoke sing songs. We squeeze into dresses and we get upset at ourselves when we drink that last glass of wine at the party. Our emotions can heighten at this time of year.
Why not take a moment to pause and think as you wrap a gift for someone you love. Perhaps they are new in your life which automatically changes how you feel this festive season compared to the last.
The desired feel good fluffiness of Christmas and the love we can actually (see what I did there?) feel is as important all year round as it is at Christmas.
None of us is getting any younger and your odd socks are ugly, yes, but they remind you of a house packed with busyness and a jumbled up sock drawer. What a blessing to have created that bustling household from your belly or after a ten year wait on the adoption process.
If you are reading this and you are currently without a partner please know that one door bell ring, one change in the blue app that links you to your potential suitor is all it takes to change your life. Furthermore, and more importantly you are worthy and you are perfect just as you are. A partner screaming for a towel at the top of your stairs does not define you.
Have a super Christmas whatever you do, eat or dance to. Enjoy the wine and the cups of tea in whichever mug you think is fitting.
Then when you’re caught up in the drama or the rush of gift buying and booking of flights to see family and friends I want you to remember this scene from Love Actually. Let’s agree that the awkwardness of Mark’s unrequited love is the bit we can cast aside from the scene. It’s the significance of the words on his cards that I am most interested in;
“For now let me say without hope or agenda, to me, you are perfect”.
Happy Christmas beautiful being.