The Ghosts of Christmas Past

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Christmas Day was a complete none event, my partner turned down the offer of Christmas dinner at his parents house ( on my behalf also without asking me ) and Boxing day dinner also, so now I’m beginning to crave human contact. My guts are feeling a bit dodgy also, not due to anything I’ve eaten or drunk but due to the anti-biotics that my dentist prescribed for me, it turns out that I have some infection where my wisdom tooth, which is in my gum sideways, is just poking out. Over the last couple of days I’ve been missing my family and longing for Christmases past, when I was a child Christmas was a long convoluted affair, it starts with the appearance of an Advent calendar at home and talk of school concerts, parties and of course Christmas presents. The last day of term would usually involve a class party where each child would bring in some party food from home to share and we would play games such as musical chairs and musical statues. Christmas cards would be exchanged and carols sung. During that last week in school our parents would take us all to see Santa, Santa lived in the North Pole and his home was accessed via a strange sleigh ride ( stationary sleigh with images of snowing scenes projected around us) from the Co-op furniture department to the North Pole. A few days after school broke up for Christmas (or an eternity if you’re 8) it was my birthday, I’d wear my best dress (from my mum’s perspective) and select friends and relatives would come round to my house for my birthday party. Until quite recently I’ve done something for my birthday from the party hosted by my best friend Y where I needed to be carried home to a sedate curry with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. However when the party was over, the clearing up done I was packed off to bed in the knowledge that I would be woken up and I’d be going to midnight mass, I’d be back wearing the dress and no doubt some of my friends would be there, B would still be hyper after eating trifle and birthday cake, D would be trying to take his altar boy duties seriously in-between yawning and nodding off. After mass we were nearly there, Christmas was just another short sleep away, we’d have some mince pies, cake and fizzy pop courtesy of the nuns and priests and no doubt B would be nagging her mum “Mam, Mam, Mammy, can I open a present when I get home…just one?...pleeeeeeaase” It seemed quite surreal to me to be awake at this time and surrounded by people, so off home and off to bed.

This blog post has been kind of inspired by a programme that was on TV yesterday about kid’s toys. To me now Christmas seems so materialistic and driven by consumerism, on the way home from our last group support meeting in Birmingham I felt quite overwhelmed by the crowds at New St station, I felt like crying. I was thinking back to some of my favourite presents, and the regular presents, a pack of knickers from Woollies was always a regular (it would be nice to be bought knickers now, but not cotton in a pack of 5) some socks (suitable for school) colouring pens or pencils, a sketch pad, and a book. One year I received a Lego hospital set, that was good, around this time I had been in hospital for a couple of weeks for an operation to correct a squint and decided that I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. My first Christmas wasn’t supposed to happen, after 9 months of violent sickness and quite a bit of time of my kicking, to the extent that my parents had assumed that I was a boy and called my Richard, and Richard was either going to grow up and play for Man City or Llanelli Scarlets, they couldn’t decide which. I’m not sure if this is true but it’s a family legend, my parents were visiting my Mamgu and Dadcu a couple of days before Christmas day and my uncle Emyr who was about 8 or 9 at the time was excited about having decorating the tree and had discovered that with the magic of static he could make people’s hair stand on end, until POP!!! Right behind my Mum a balloon popped. My Mum soon started labour and 36 long painful hours later I popped out on Christmas Eve morning, pink, blonde, colicky and not Richard. As I wasn’t expected until New Year’s Day, no presents were ready for me, (not even a Scarlets bib). Emyr was devastated, he cried all night worried that he had caused my early arrival. However I did receive a present, I was given a teddy bear by the staff at Morriston Hospital, Swansea. I still have him, his name is Gruff (see picture). As far as I know there are no other ticcers in my family, not even my extended family, there are however some that have also had mental health problems like myself, I think that some cases of TS may be due to morning sickness in pregnancy (my mother was hospitalised due to her morning sickness) and long, stressful labours, don’t take my word on this as a TS specialist – if you are a TS specialist please feel free to comment and let us know if this is true.

Another fantastic Christmas present I received was bespoke, handcrafted, my cousin Eirlys and myself one year were given dolls houses, a collaborative project, made by Mamgu, Dadcu and Emyr. Each house had 2 bedrooms, a lounge, dinning room, bathroom, kitchen and fully furnished strangely enough the houses looked quite similar to the house the house that Eirlys lived in.

It’s not the presents that make Christmas, it’s the company, watching my Dad making up my brother’s Lego spaceships, playing Monopoly (I win) watching my parents open the presents that we’ve got them. The occasion when my brother got my Dad fuse wire is now a family legend. We don’t really have instances like this anymore but the last one was my brother Steve getting out the Hungry Hippos game that was left by Santa for his daughters (we never had Hungry Hippos at home when we were little, perhaps that’s why Santa gave it to my nieces) Hungry Hippos is immense fun, particularly after some wine, Baileys and vodka and coke, the looks we got from my niece were priceless. I think now that I’ve acquired a nephew, Touretteshero’s tics on Facebook have been giving my brother and Santa present ideas, one year he had a green tiger thing, and Skeletor, would Toureteshero remember the name of the green tiger?