We had a good Christmas trip "up north" to see my sister, and joined by my other sister. It was lovely to see my niece open her presents on Christmas morning (and were astounded when she was actually speechless with her one big present). But of course it was a little bittersweet for obvious reasons, but also for her because she is essentially an only child, and feels it intensely. (Her half-sister is in her 30s, and she never knew her half-brother, and she adores being around other kids.) So her aunts bestow love on her, and thanks to technology she was chatting to friends throughout the day. She endured walks in gardens with her parents and aunts and uncle and Jeff the dog, she went surfing (but the waves were disappointing), and was pulled away from her presents to go out on her dad's boat with us all. My husband and I went exploring one day, and she eagerly joined us for sushi and shopping - the perfect combination as far as she is concerned!
For me, there was a memorable moment. The day or so after Christmas, I was sitting at the dining table with my two sisters. I'd mentioned that it was lovely to see bloggers I knew enjoy the photo of my niece (Charlie - the subject of "What Charlie taught me" blogs over on A Separate Life) on Fbk, when they had read about her for years. And somehow the topic of not having children come up. I mentioned some of the comments that friends and bloggers and I have received over the years. One sister said cautiously, "I hope I haven't said anything like that" and I was able to reassure her that she hadn't. Perhaps because she has largely avoided the topic, but she has, I know, been sensitive of it. She's had a friend go through IVF and also come out the other side with no kids, and knows how her friend felt over the years. We talked about it in a matter-of-fact way, and it was just nice. Nice to know that my situation was recognised by them both, to feel seen. Nice to be able to talk about the occasional reality of my life. Nice to be able to move on to the next topic without feeling we needed to out of awkwardness. Nice to know that they saw it was a part of me, but not all of me.
And now we're home. Christmas is over for another year. 2020 has felt surreal at times. As with any year, I've felt my No Kidding status acutely at times, but have also been very grateful for the benefits of that life too, including my relationships with you all. I'm hoping 2021 is a lot better for everyone next year. And send you my heartfelt love and best wishes.