The scarily rapid approach of Christmas has made me think about last year when Wee-sis and I felt it might be the last Christmas in which the Goldfish would be able to participate and to enjoy. It would likely be the last Christmas to give us some happy memories to store away for the future.
All of this, however, looked to be in serious jeopardy as the step-monster’s daughter decided her mother and the Goldfish should come to her on Christmas Day. As they always go to the step-monster’s son on Boxing Day we were being blocked from Christmas with the Goldfish. Much discussion and gnashing of teeth and Wee-sis (because she is so much more diplomatic than I am) was sent to negotiate with step-monster’s daughter. It was agreed the Goldfish would come to my house on Christmas Day. The step-monster decided to go to her daughter’s house, which pleased us.
Two days before Christmas the step-monster announced she was leaving the Goldfish and going to live in her own house. She inherited it from her mother and had been letting out for many years. When the last tenants moved on she did not re-let, something which made Wee-sis suspicious that she was planning to move in.
She said she couldn’t cope with looking after the Goldfish.
‘I know it isn’t easy,’ I said, ‘but Social Services can provide a lot more help. You only have to tell them what support you need to help you cope.’ The CC, I knew, could put in a lot of extra support, including someone to sleep at night to give the Step-monster some respite.
‘No, I don’t want anyone coming in the house,’ she replied.
‘So, you are abandoning my father. What about the “in sickness and in health” promise you made?’
She shrugged. ‘Don’t you think at my age I am entitled to a peaceful life?’
‘What are you going to tell dad?’
‘Oh, he’ll soon forget. He doesn’t remember anything.’
‘When are you proposing to move out? Social Services are more or less closed for the holiday now so I can’t see us being able to arrange a meeting until after the New Year.’
‘Oh, I’m not going yet. I need to do some things in the house before I move in. It’ll be the end of January.’
As I was leaving, she said: ‘I’ll pop in to see him sometimes.’
I shook my head. ‘No, you can’t. It will take us a long time to help him get over your leaving him and you are not going to come back for a half hour visit and upset everything again.’
If the step-monster’s life was going to become peaceful and stress free, mine was going to become the very opposite. Family discussions went round and round but always came to the same conclusion – I was going to have to move in with the Goldfish.
Somehow, Wee-sis, DH and I managed to put fears for the future to the back of our minds and organise a lovely Christmas Day for the Goldfish. We can look back on Christmas 2013 and remember the fun we had watching the Goldfish open his gifts, his pleasure at being surrounded by people who talked to him, plied him with good food (he had two puddings after tucking into a huge plate of dinner) and wine and best malt whisky.
Even so, every time we remember that lovely day,especially with another Christmas round the corner, the memory is tainted by the bombshell the step-monster dropped just two days before.