Four Christmases

Wreath

I’m not really sure why, but I always feel a deep sadness on Christmas Day. Perhaps it’s knowing that it will soon be over for another year, or having unrealistic expectations of what Christmas should be like, or maybe it’s just the general stress of the holiday season and the amplification of family dysfunction getting the better of me.

Whatever it is, I was not looking forward to running the gauntlet of Four Christmases (sounds something like a cheesy Hollywood film, doesn’t it…) this year on Christmas Day.

Swimming pool

I woke early so that I could get a swim in before the festivities started. An early morning Christmas swim has become somewhat of a tradition for me – the solitude of the pool and the repetitive meditative nature of the strokes through the water calms my mind, and I feel less guilt over all the calories that I know I am about to imbibe.

The exchange of gifts between Mr Posy, the furkids and I was left until quite late this Christmas morning – there was beetroot to be roasted, chorizo to be fried and broad beans to be shelled for salads, and presents for Mr Posy’s folks to be wrapped.

PosyDog

As a small child, I would poke holes in the wrapping paper of my gifts under the tree, too excited and impatient to wait until Christmas. Now that I’m older, I never want to unwrap my gifts. It means Christmas will soon be over. I try to delay the unwrapping as long as possible (in fact, I still have one gift left to unwrap…). PosyDog does not feel the same, and let us know as such throughout the morning. When she was finally allowed to open her gift, she ripped into it, eager to play with her new toy.

Mr Posy / PosyDog / Miss Posy & Niece Posy

Soon after presents, and a video-call with my brother who is holidaying interstate with his girlfriend, it was on to our first stop of the day: lunch with Mr Posy’s family.

Niece Posy has grown so much since last year. “Merry Christmas!” she would shout over and over, while pointing at the presents under the tree. “I won!” she would yell, as she cracked bonbons with Mr Posy, her Papou, her Yiayia.

I wanted to squish her little cheeks when she unwrapped the books that we bought for her, refusing to open other gifts, instead wanting to read.

The poor kid was over it all after a couple of hours. My favourite part of this Christmas was Niece Posy curling up in my lap, because she was tired and wanted a cuddle. Nephew Posy had no idea about what was going on around him, and kept himself amused in a pile of discarded wrapping paper and ribbon.

Next stop: a half hour drive out to visit my dad and his partner in their new house. Too full from lunch, we exchanged gifts over cold beverages and took a tour of their property. An hour flew by pretty quickly, and then it was time to get back on the road and on to our third stop: Mum’s house.

The plan for Christmas with Mum was afternoon tea, but it was too hot and humid, so we skipped the coffee and gorged on chocolate brownies instead.

Mum and Dad only split a few years ago – this was the first year that we saw them separately for Christmas, and I have to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. It was pretty weird. And kind of awkward, made more so because Mum didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. I’d like to think that it is something that will get easier with time, but right now the thought of spending future Christmases out of the country is very appealing…

Swimming pool

Our fourth and final stop was back with Mr Posy’s family – his sister-in-law’s family were up from Melbourne, so we spent dinner with them. Niece and Nephew Posy had each had a three hour nap, and were back in fine form entertaining the extended family with their antics, and having a splash in the pool. Mr Posy and I later sat outside with his brother, our feet in the pool, watching the boats in the marina.

By the time we arrived home late that evening, I was exhausted. The overwhelming sense of sadness had mostly dissipated (as it often does by the time I’m back home all tucked up in my bed), and I was ready for our annual screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the ultimate in family dysfunction); another Christmas tradition.

And so Christmas is well and truly over for another year. The post-Christmas ennui hit hard on Wednesday, soon after I left the madness known as the Boxing Day Sales, and even harder yesterday when it was time to return to work.

Perhaps by the time 2013 rolls around PosyKitty might have forgiven me for making her wear a polyester shirt.

PosyKitty

A new addition…

There are two types of people in the world – those that like dogs, and those that like cats. I’ve always had my feet firmly in the dog-loving-camp; Mr Posy on the other hand has always been a cat-person.

The last (and only) time I had a cat was when I was 4 and we lived on a farm. The kitten attacked me, and I’ve been afraid of cats ever since. Bizarrely, the crazy rooster that used to attack Mum and me every morning didn’t leave the same emotional scar. I guess it’s not every day that you encounter a rooster.

Cats are spiteful little creatures. Sensing my dislike for them, they’d be sure to rub against my legs or perch themselves in my lap when I’d visit cat-ruling households. I’d be paralysed by fear, too scared to move, waiting for the cat’s next move, where it would surely slash me. I wasn’t just afraid of cats, I was terrified. A fear I didn’t share with a lot of people… “You’re afraid of cats?”, they’d question, incredulous. “Oh well, you know, I was attacked… by a pack of feral cats… when I was much smaller,” I’d mumble in reply.

Mr Posy has never pushed the issue of getting a cat. We have PosyDog, who is rather cat-like, so I figured that was a good compromise (considering I’d originally wanted a much larger dog, like a Boxer or a Shar Pei, but Mr Posy wasn’t a fan). Apparently, having a dog that has cat-like qualities (such as sleeping on the back of the lounge or on bookcases) is not the same thing as having a cat.

It all started back in February, when a friend, the lovely Miss B, sent me a picture message of a friend’s new kitty – a British Short Hair. “She’s gorgeous!” I exclaimed, “Don’t tell Mr Posy I said that…”. The seed had been sown.

A couple of months later we were out for dinner and drinks with these friends, where they later invited us back to their apartment for coffee and to meet their kitten. I could feel my anxiety rising, but too embarrassed to admit that I was scared of a kitten, we accepted the invitation.

Oh em gee.

The kitten was ridiculously cute.

Thanks to a few too many wines, I made the mistake of making the off-the-cuff remark that “I could handle a cat like that”. That was all Mr Posy needed to hear. I’d somehow agreed to a getting cat.

For months, I would curl up on the couch only to find Mr Posy researching kittens and breeders on the iPad. He was obsessed. I’d never seen him so excited about anything. Finally, he found a breeder with a little female lilac British Short Hair. “Yeah, okay, she’s pretty cute”, I reluctantly agreed.

This was how I found myself at the airport on a Saturday afternoon, a week ago, to collect a kitten.

“Do you want me to take her out of her crate, love?”, the very friendly attendant at the cargo delivery bay at the airport questioned. “Oh jeez no!” I exclaimed. I was terrified. I didn’t want to take her out of her crate. What if she scratched me? Even worse, what if she ran away? How would I explain that to Mr Posy (who was at work when the plane arrived from Melbourne)?

I got PosyKitty home, and out of her crate. She didn’t attack me. This was a good sign. PosyDog wanted to smell her butt – PosyKitty hissed at her. This was not a good sign. I started freaking out.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have expected PosyDog and PosyKitty to be best friends straight away. PosyKitty had just been taken away from her parents, shoved in a cage and put on a four hour flight, and then plucked out of her cage by somebody new (and equally terrified of her…) in a completely foreign destination.

I needn’t have worried. A week later and they’re completely smitten with each other.

As for me and PosyKitty…  Well, I’m still constantly afraid that she’s going to turn on me (much to Mr Posy’s amusement), but she’s wormed her way into my heart. She follows me around everywhere (she even tried climbing into the shower with me), and snuggles into bed with me.

I still maintain that I’m not a cat-person. I’m just a PosyKitty-person.