Dear 30 year-old me,
This is not a letter to tell you that you shouldn’t worry so much about little things (though you shouldn’t). Nor is it a letter saying don’t wish time away or don’t buy a house off the plans or don’t wear pale pink jeans.
It’s about the thing you said. That day in December, way back then.
Back before you had kids. Back when you had a job that ended on Friday evenings and didn’t start again until Monday morning. Before you took up running and had to find time to slot that into the week too.
Back when you didn’t have to get up until 11am or 1pm or at all on Saturdays. When you spent Sunday mornings making bacon and eggs – not freezing on the hockey pitch.
Back when you shared the house with one grown-up, and neither of you made anything like the mess that three kids can make.
Back when there were no school lunches or uniforms or school-runs – and no carol services or nativity plays or teacher presents.
Back when Santa was someone on the Coca-Cola ad, and he didn’t need any help at all.
Back then – and I remember it well – you said: “God it’s December already, and I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet – I don’t know when I’ll get it done.”
I need to ask you about that. What exactly was filling your weekend days, apart from sleep and food and well, shopping? And what was filling your weekday evenings, apart from episodes of Lost and CSI Miami?
I thought about you today, when the lady at the till asked me if I have a Valu Club card and I lied and said I don’t, because that was easier than trying to find it in my bag while holding the small boy back from the Lindt display.
I thought about you yesterday, when I added socks to the third M & S Christmas present order, because I’m fairly sure the M & S socks will arrive before my laundry gets done (true story).
And I think about you every day when I spend the hour between school pick-ups writing Christmas cards in the car while entertaining the junior infant (apologies to everyone who gets four-year-old style scribbles on their cards this year).
And of course I know that all the things that make it busy now are the things that make it magical too. I can complain about the carol service and the nativity play, but when I’m there, I won’t be thinking about looming deadlines and unbought presents – I’ll be busy swallowing back proud parent tears and trying to imprint every gorgeous moment in my memory. Having said that, if you’re free to babysit, we’d love to have you over.
And happy Christmas.
The no longer 30 year-old-self