I picked Mum up on Christmas Eve and brought her out to my house. My two brothers had arrived and we were busy making potato salad, fruit salad, and trifle for Christmas. She was site supervisor, giving instructions as to how many apples, how much lemon juice, and how small to dice the potatoes. Then she said she was sorry to keep telling us what to do. I said for goodness sake, Mum, this is your domain. We have no idea about making this stuff so you’re in charge. A few years ago she had written down the recipes for the foods of our traditional Christmas dinner. I had fished it out from my neglected pile of cookbooks. The kitchen is definitely not my strongest area of expertise! She’d made ‘patty cakes’, she refuses to call them cup cakes. So we sat out on the deck with coffee and ‘patty cakes’ and discussed the events of the past year.
Next morning, my brother drove her out for the big day. No Christmas presents this year, I had announced earlier in December. We have no one below the age of 22 in the family, and everyone was relieved to not have to rack their brains for ideas. Mum was really glad not to have to shop for presents because, at the age of 90, tackling the Christmas rush, even in our tiny town of Miles didn’t bear thinking about. So coffee and slice that she had made, was the first thing on the agenda. My husband and I then retired to the kitchen to peel the veggies and put the pork, turkey, chicken and ham in the oven to roast. Definitely a hot roast dinner for our family, including plum pudding (made by Mum), fruit salad, trifle, custard, cream, jelly and ice cream.
So another traditional family Christmas ticked off. So obscenely full, no one can move. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Mum is a big part of all of our family traditions, and she always will be.