I hope this email finds you well and that you had a wonderful day yesterday. Personally, I love Christmas but have to admit that this year I struggled to feel “Christmasy” under the baking sun. No amount of cheesy music and Santa hats could convince me it is normal to be wearing a bikini on Christmas eve!
Last week saw its ups and downs in the land down under! The “up” was climbing to top of the viewing pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The construction of this enormous bridge is a testament to what people are capable of when they put their minds and physical power to it!
The “down” came the very next day when my nine-year-old son, Luca, developed a bout of extreme homesickness. He had gone off camping with his cousins for a full week leaving myself and Ciaran, my husband, in Sydney, for work reasons. The problem in this case is that “home” (Sydney) for Luca happened to be a 7 hour car journey away!
I’m sure we can all recall, as children, the horrible feeling of being homesick when moments feel like hours and days like weeks. This is different from loneliness and hits you right in the pit of your stomach. Luca is already very far from home (Ireland) but it was his parents that he really missed, so perhaps homesick is the wrong word as it’s really the people we love that we miss.
Remembering this feeling from my own childhood, we decided the best thing to do was to go and pick him up as he seemed inconsolable. Just as we were about to set out on the long journey to collect him, Ciaran decided that chlorine needed to be added to the pool to keep it clean while we were away. In his rush a splash of the toxic chemical got into his eye despite him wearing sunglasses. Not usually prone to the dramatic, Ciaran came running though shouting he had been blinded! Our attention had now swayed from our distraught son to getting Ciaran medical attention as suggested by Dr Google. Many hours later and a few hundred dollars down, Ciaran was told his eye was fine! In the meantime, Luca had had a 360 degree change of heart and decided to stay at the campsite and told his auntie to tell his parents that if they hadn’t already left, not to bother! Throughout the day, as things changed from moment to moment, I found myself taking a big step back and my ability to trust the sequence of events showed that everything worked out just the way it was meant to: no long car journey needed and Luca more time to play with his cousins.
What I didn’t expect was to wake up on Christmas morning suffering my own feelings of “homesickness”. I hadn’t slept well and the thought of my parents and sister at home getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve party coupled with echoes of Christmases past, missing relatives now long gone came up and the tears started to flow.
Christmas provides us with a window in which the everyday business of life comes to a halt and our focus turns to what’s more important – love of our family and friends.
I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again, when an emotion swells up, please give yourself space to really feel it. Repressed emotions lead to ill health in both the body and mind. If you feel homesick, sad or lonely at any point, then embrace these feelings. In my case, I let the tears flow and allowed myself to reminisce for a while. After a while everything settled, the sun came out and I had one of the best, most unique, beautiful, loving Christmases I’ve ever had and I didn’t even mind the fact that I was wearing a bikini!