I didn’t plan on writing a novel when I wrote this post, but that’s the way it turned out, so I’ve had to break it up into parts. Christmas is a special time of year for me and this year I’m facing my first Christmas without Barry. It’s going to be a sad time, but deep inside I need it to be special. And to do that I need to include Barry in some way.
But, first, let me start at the beginning. Please come with me as I relate a typical Christmas in the Henderson household…
With only six weeks to Christmas, I find my mind is consumed with a time of year I’ve always loved. For me, a traditional white Christmas would be heaven on Earth. Living in a hot country, this is something we’ll never have. However, we always made do where the weather was concerned, and made our own traditional Christmas. It was important that everything was big and sparkling. There was always an assortment of food to be had. And presents…they went on forever.
Barry was very much like me. Christmas would make his eyes shine. He loved the season as much as I did. And he believed in Santa for much longer than any child I’ve ever known. Why? Because he didn’t want to lose the magic! And I didn’t want him to lose it either. Because while he believed, I could pretend that it was true myself and Christmas continued to have that special feel about it.
Daniel had discovered the truth when he was only 6 or 7, but Barry was different. He hung on to his belief. Each year, his father and I dreaded the moment when Barry would come up to us and say “Santa isn’t real”, but it never happened. Each year, we would sneak into his bedroom and fill his stocking with titbits to keep him happy in those early hours of Christmas morning, allowing us an extra couple of hours sleep.
When I got up on Christmas morning, I would put the lights on and then the music. It was like alarm bells in our house because it meant that Santa had been and it was time to see the tree. Even Daniel’s eyes would like up, but the awe on Barry’s face made everything worthwhile.
What could be better than opening the presents and then running outside to play in the snow? For me, nothing, but we didn’t have snow, so we went to the beach instead. We took the turkey, the beef, the ham, the salads, the prawns, the fruit, the pudding, the custard and an eskey full of drinks with us. We were always joined by my parents and my brother’s family. We had a wonderful time–eating, swimming, sunbaking, feeding the parrots, and eating some more.
Other families would come and go, but we’d stay at the beach for hours on end. In the late afternoon, we’d head for home, have a shower, and then set the table so that we could continue to eat.
Boxing Day would be Christmas Day all over again, but without the presents. They were good times.
Continued in Part 2