The Night Before Christmas – by Mammy

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land,

The magic was starting and all was in hand.

The trees were lit up and the turkeys were prepped,

The dog was quite cozy by the tree where he slept.

The sugar-filled children were bouncing and reeling,

The reindeer dust sprinkled, the cookies still cooling.

They hoped for and wished that the Big Man would bring

The gifts that they’d ask for, to make their hearts sing.

They stared at the skies, with eyes that were bright

As the stars they were searching, for Santa’s sleigh lights.

The parents enjoyed the excitement and fun

But hoped they’d soon sleep.  There were jobs to be done.

Santa’s snacks were set out and the stories were read

As the children got tucked in and snuggled in bed.

With a sigh of relief and ten checks that they’re sleeping

Mammy opened the nice secret treats she’d been keeping.

They finished their jobs and left everything right

For the Big Man in red who would visit tonight.

And they danced in the kitchen, and with Bublé they’d sing

Excited themselves, for what morning would bring.

For the joy and excitement, the gifts and the hugs

For the fact they’re together and truly know love,

For their family and friends, far away and close by,

For the innocence and magic that can’t money can’t buy,

For the dinner and chocolates and all of the food,

For the laughter and smiles, for the contented mood,

That comes with the sunrise on each Christmas Day,

And they counted their blessings as they ended their day.

So, tired but happy, Mammy turned off the light,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!”

(Maria Rushe 2017)

Wishing you a magical Christmas

This Mammy wants to wish all of my wonderful readers a truly magical and wonderful Christmas.  I hope Santa is good to you all and that you have everything you dream of.

The S-Mum xx

 

 

I am Singing Your Song Mum

IT’S JOHN LEWIS AD DAY!!

It’s here!  The ad has been released online with the first TV screening expected at 9.15pm tonight.

I LOVE the John Lewis ads.  I get excited and all of my teaching plans are paused every year.  I shall spend the day watching it and analysing it with my students and being happy happy happy in my job; its cinematography, its soundtrack, its narrative structure, its messages…

And this year’s homage to Elton John ticks all of these boxes.

It’s not as immediately Christmassy as I would have liked.  It begins as what seems like simply a tribute to the legend that is Elton John, but as the flashback structure becomes clear and we can begin to anticipate what’s coming, the emotions kick in.

And at the end, it is indeed Christmassy.  In fact, there is so much Christmas and so many feels concentrated into the last 20 seconds, that you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a Christmas Pudding.

If the face on the little Elton doesn’t melt you into a thousand pieces as he bounces into the Living Room of his home on a Christmas Morning in the 1950s, then I don’t know what will.  He is every child.  He is all of us, full of joy and hope and anticipation.

And the message?

“Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Well, it’s more than that.

This is not just a hat tip to Elton John.

Actually, this advert is NOT about Elton John; it’s a tribute to his Mother. TO ALL mothers.  (And to his Grandmother!)

How?

Because it is his Mother who sees his potential, who encourages his talent, who feeds his ability.  It is his mother who watches with tears of pride in her eyes.  It is his mother to whom he looks when his nerves fail him as a young boy at a school recital, who has given him all that he needed to succeed in life… And succeed he did (and does).

And it is no doubt his Mother that he is thinking of in that final scene, where his smile is sad, but full of memory.

In fact, when we see the clip of a young Elton in a recording studio, the music becomes almost inaudible as he sings “My gift is my song and my song’s for you.”  His Mother gave him the gift of music.  He returns the gift to her by dedicating his song to her.

Because, without his Mother, where would he be?

Now, I’m off to show my babbies this beautiful piece of Christmas magic and to make sure they all recognise the message in this ad… and that they all go home this evening and thank their parents for giving them all of the gifts that they have…

And then, I’m going to price Pianos for my little superstars…

I am Sobbing at Mamma Mia Mum

Mammy is an emotional wreck this morning…
I’m talking a blubbering, snottering, breath-catching, eye-brimming slobberpot.
 
Why?
 
Because snippets of the final scenes of Mamma Mia 2 keep popping into my head. I can’t look at the feral ones without seeing their whole lives, and mine, flit in front of me. Never have I been so fecking aware of my own mortality…
 
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Am I being over dramatic?
 
Well of course, probably…maybe.
 
But I challenge you to find a more real and emotional and poignant and absolutely fucking HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL portrayal of Motherhood than the final 10 minutes of this fricken movie. If you can find it, let me know, so I NEVER put myself through it.
 
Now, the movie is great. A bit weird to begin and not quite as electric and magical as the first one if I’m honest. The choreography and dance scenes were a bit disappointing, but the acting and the sentiment and the one-liners are fablis. The “younger” characters are so well cast that I’m not sure it’s beyond plausible that they were grown from the DNA of the “older” cast in a lab somewhere… shockingly believable.
 
And of course the music is class.
 
But it’s the cheese and glitter and escapist nonsense that you expect and love. And you will thoroughly enjoy it.
 
And if the ending doesn’t make you:
a) broody,
b) Bawl like a toddler whose just been handed the wrong spoon,
c) question your own life and mortality and
d) want to choke your own Mammy with an eternal hug, then you are either emotionally fooktarded or you are already dead.
 
Because this would make concrete weep.
 
It’s incredible.
It’s like the Directorial team had “Let’s break them all! Even the tough bitches” as their only objective!
But seriously, it’s so well directed and so well acted and the final song is just STUNNING.
 
Yes, I shall go back to see it again.
 
Last night I cried like a baby.
This morning, my eyes are still leaking a little.
I can’t look at the girls without wanting to squeeze this little shitsters. I’ve been told to “Stop squashing meeeeee!” three times already…
 
The broodiness however lasted a whole 3.8 seconds and has thankfully passed! Close call. Don’t tell Him.
 
Have you seen it yet?
What did you think?

I am Some Time, Sometimes Mum

Mammy wrote this poem on Wednesday after a few days of emotional news, both good and bad. I found myself looking at my girls, wondering how on earth I could EVER protect them from the world, from life. Wondering how they are growing up so quickly. Wondering how I can make sure they have everything they need to battle the bitch that life can sometimes be.

That morning, a few of my friends and I had been joking about our little rascals not sleeping, or misbehaving etc. It was typical Mammy chat; nothing major, but I was stopped in my tracks when one of the, let’s say, more experienced Mammies in the room laughed to herself and announced, “Enjoy it all. Before you know it, you’ll be wishing you could have these sleepless nights again. It all goes so fast.”

And that was that. How right she was eh? These pearls of wisdom from a wonderful Mum whose sleepless nights are still caused by her children, even though they’re far away from home, coupled with my general “What is life?” mood, started singing this poem in my head. I had to get it written down.

And I’m glad that I did. Writing my own “advice” to myself has helped a bit this week. Sometimes words can help. Even when it seems that there are none. Life is a bitch; of that we are certain, but I suppose if we can put our energy into enjoying it while she’s behaving, we’re winning already aren’t we?

I am Some Time, Sometimes Mum

(Dedicated to Michael)

We’ve “no time” for dancing, We’ve “no time” to sing.

We can’t play that game or go play on the swing.

There’s washing and cooking and things to be done

And sometimes the last thing we think of is fun.

And this is all normal and life does get busy,

But if it’s so hectic it’s making you dizzy,

It’s time to consider the things that mean more,

The small things we all take for granted, I’m sure.

Like breathing and laughing and reading and such,

Like the fact that our lives are each made up of much,

Much more than our jobs or our grades or successes.

They’re made up of giggles and family and messes,

Of routines and drop offs, of friends and of breaks,

Of worries and stresses, of plans and heartaches.

If we knew every morning, what would lay ahead,

There are mornings we’d probably stay in our beds.

But know we do not. Of nothing we’re sure,

Except that we’re here and have one morning more.

So take all the compliments, laugh all the time,

Always give hugs and sometimes drink wine.

Build all the jigsaws, take all the smiles.

Walk in the countryside, drive one more mile,

Say if you’re sorry, cry if you’re sad,

Don’t waste time fighting. Fighting is bad..

Look at the sky and take time to see

the colours and patterns, reflect on the sea.

Don’t waste time worrying about what MAY be

Think of your present. Enjoy memories.

Follow your dreams, Make all the plans,

Never let anyone tell you you can’t.

And while we have problems and things might go badly,

Remember that others would swap with us gladly.

So if you love someone, please make sure that you say;

Tell them and give them memories to replay,

Because we just never know when that last hug or kiss

is being given. So make sure it’s one you don’t miss.

Breathe it all in and live life as you must,

Be kind and polite and remember to trust.

Travel and wonder and read all the books

See all the beauty we’d see if we looked.

When life is good, live it, and take every chance

And never look back wishing that you had danced.

Leave “no song unsung and no wine untasted”

For time spent being happy is never time wasted.

So play all the games and run to the swing

And always make time to dance and to sing.

greatmornings

Maria (Jan 2018)

Delighted to have this post featured on #Blogcrush

Lucy At Home

And published on my Thoroughly Modern Mammy column on the very fablis Donegal Woman

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I am Some Things that Make me Smile Mum

What makes you smile Mammy?

“My children’s arms around my neck… spending time with my family… seeing my childrens’s faces when… hearing my children’s voices…cuddles with my babies…”

Yadda yadda yeah.

Of course these things make you happy.  And so they should. Being Mammy is the most rewarding and smile inducing thing in the world.

But Back up Bitcheepoos.  I asked what makes YOU happy.  What things, (not including your precious little cherubs and their hillarious/cute/wonderful milestones), make Mammy smile.   I want the OTHER answers, the things OTHER than your kids that make you smile, because it’s important to remember the things that make Mammy smile, other than being Mammy.

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Apart from these two, obviously.

Here are some of mine:

Food:  Food is possibly my favourite thing in the world. Nothing gives me the same joy as good food. The smells.  The textures. The flavours… I have been known to make questionable noises while eating certain things.  Add a smooth warm wine to a Prawn Balti and I may just love you forever. Eating is not just functional.  It’s sensual. God dammit, sometimes food is just sexy. End of.   I’m salivating now just thinking about it… To Hell with diamonds…The way to this woman’s heart is through my belly.  Just feeeeeeed me.  I’m like a puppy.  I’m not beyond being bribed to do tricks…

When someone else thinks of me:  When Himself leaves my cup and pod ready in the coffee machine before I get up.  When my friend hands me a pair of ridiculous slippers just because she thought of me when she saw them. When someone calls me, not looking for something, just to say hi. When someone texts me out of the blue.

Chatting:  With two chatterboxes for daughters, I don’t get a word in edgeways.  If I get the rare chance to meet my mate, my Him or my Mum for a cuppa without my little people, Oh but it does make me smile.  Uninterrupted, uncensored conversation with our favourite grown up people is soooooooo good for us, isn’t it?

coffee

Hugs:  Apart from my Him and the Hers, there are some people whose hugs make me especially happy.  My Daddy is the bestest Hugger in the world.  End of story. No one will ever win an argument with me about that.  I love hugs from my siblings, especially the two who flew over the Irish Sea to make their nests. It doesn’t matter how long has passed between hugs, they’re stronger than ever each time.

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Hugs makes the sun shine

Being alone:  The true joys of being alone can never be understood until you are a parent.  When I get it, I take it.  And I’m talking ANYWHERE!  The bathroom. The shower. The car journey between drop off and work.  Sometimes, I run awful errands just to get 25 minutes alone! Even putting the bin up to the road is a chance to stop and breath and be alone for a minute. Grabbing a coffee alone is a luxury. I get up most mornings before 6am, just to have an hour to myself.  And who needs a holiday when you have the Supermarket to mosey through all by yourself?

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How I feel on aisle 3

The Beach:  The beach near my home is my absolute favourite place.  It’s my thinking place. Yes I love to walk here with the girls, but add this one to Number 5 and you’ll see a content and happy S-Mum.  If I stand on that shore long enough, all the world realigns and everything is better. It’s cleansing. It blasts away my stresses. And I’m discovering as I get older, that the worse the weather is, the better the blast.

People watching:  This one makes me smile just thinking about it.  I LOVE to people-watch.  I love to pretend and make up what is happening with them.  I write them into characters and scenarios in my head, and sometimes in my book.  (If you have ever passed me, especially if I’m alone, there’s a chance you’ve inspired something. That counts as a disclaimer right?)

Exercise:  This one might not be everyone’s list, but it’s definitely something that makes me smile.  It also makes me swear, grunt and cry, but so does food! There is a fine line between pleasure and pain isn’t there!?

Food: I know I’ve said food already, but seriously, I don’t think I have enough words to make anyone understand the utter joy that it brings me. 🙂

Smells: Stop and smell the roses, or the cut grass, or the baking bread.  Breathe in your Granny’s perfume, your baby’s head, the chocolate cake.  ALWAYS take a second to smell your wine. Or your coffee.  Or the washing powder.  Or the smell in your parent’s hall when you visit.  Smells are memories.  Memories make me smile.

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Breathe it in…

I could go on.  And even as I write this and think about these things, I realise that they are largely easy to do, find and that they are mostly free.   And so it makes me wonder, why I don’t do them more often.  Of course, time is an issue. Being a busy Mammy with a job and 20,000 other things going on will always make time an issue, but at the same time, none of these things are outrageous or elusive really.

And so maybe it’s time to make time to do them.  

So now, I ask you again.  What makes YOU smile? (apart from your Darlings).

Write down a few of them and stick the list on your fridge or in your diary.  Then, try to tick one or two of them off that list at least once a week.

 

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