So here I am back again and the madness and mayhem of Christmas is behind us. Thankfully for me it was a really lovely Christmas, our children were all home, and stayed friendly with each other! One of my favourite things about Christmas, is that for a short while we become the family we would wish to be, all sitting in one room, chatting and enjoying each others company or even more strangely, sitting watching a film on television, all together, with no phones or laptops on in the background.
Christmas can be such a strange time of year, filled with expectations of perfection, hope for relaxation,fun days and nights spent catching up with friends and visiting family. Yet underneath it all there is for many an undercurrent of sadness for those not here to share it with us.
Christmas morning we put the turkey in the oven and instead of putting on our Christmas finery, I donned my fleece lined trousers and Christmas jumper while my four kids and himself put on swimming togs and green Mercy Hospital T-shirts. Then off we went to our local beach to remember Daniel.
What a turn out. Anyone who is on facebook possibly saw my video of two hundred and thirty five brave souls racing into the sea. Before they took off, balloons were released into the sky and there were huge cheers. I was glad not to be too close to my friend, Daniel’s mum, as I find that part so very sad. This year as I watched the balloons dance about and take their leave higher and higher, my thoughts moved to another family. Just a few weeks ago they lost their beautiful little boy in an accident. He was only beginning to live life, not yet two years old and co incidentally also called Daniel. I drew a small love heart near the water and wished strength for his family and the hard road that lies ahead for them.
Of course I myself, in a most unselfish act, cannot possibly take part in the swim because I am involved in providing soup, tea, coffee and possibly something a little stronger to the masses as they race out. Some get changed straight away, but others don’t seem to feel the cold and stand soaking wet, chatting and enjoying a rather unique Christmas morning experience with gathered friends, remembering a young boy who touched the lives of so many.
As I headed home this year to return to our own family Christmas, it was with a fresh feeling of gratitude for all we have. Health really is wealth. Unfortunately my children traveled ahead of us and got stuck for a long time in traffic, as the country road feeding the beach is not made for such crowds. By the time they arrived home, frozen and a little tired from celebrating Christmas a little too much on Christmas Eve, they did not seem to be quite so full of gratitude as I was and being the wise old woman I am I thought it best not to remind them.
But even the rowing of four grumpy children, all wanting the shower at the same time, didn’t stop me pausing to appreciate that himself and myself are here to hear their rows and they are here to have them.
I hope Christmas was good to all of you wherever you were. Below is the link to the Danny Crowley Christmas day swim 2016.