I have changed over the last few years.
Once upon a time, prior to Miniatura I would work until the last minute and arrive at the show frazzled. I was not alone. Hilary Spedding, the much missed Dolls’ House Draper told me the tale of the night she worked right through, only stopping to put her nightie on and leap into bed with her husband just before the alarm sounded, so she could pretend she was just waking up. A quick glance around the hall revealed a show staffed by the sunken eyed and knackered. And this is even though we all knew that visitors to the show would ignore anything made in the last three months, instead fastening with glee on the last remnants of something you stopped making a year and a half ago with glad cries of: I didn’t know you made these!
Then of course, there’s Christmas, that well known Festival Of Work for Women. When the S&H was small, there could not be anything in the washing basket waiting to be done, every window had to gleam, decorations were put up in a pristine house, magically on Christmas eve, the food was traditional, complex and many coursed. I was so good at it that even my mother said in amazement that I did Christmas perfectly.
I do everything perfectly. People depend on me. Not my birthday, of course, we don’t bother with that. Not me having the presents I want. In the past when the idle but moneyed gave me money, I used to buy the thing I thought they would want to get me, show it to them, possibly even after wrapping it for them and then put it at the back of a cupboard. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want it, it was more that I didn’t want anything because I had trained myself not to want things in childhood.
A broken arm, well really two broken arms, the OH going out to you-know-where every night of his life leaving me alone, the ghastliness of the last four and a half years and nearly seven years attendance at Al-Anon where we discover that it is not only OK to have a life of your own, and to put it before looking after anyone else because it is your life, but that that is normal. Lifetimes lived around the monumentally selfish alcoholic and people raised that way in families fraught with the disease can skew you to such a point that you lose touch with yourself, supposing you were ever in touch with yourself in the first place.
I have had enough of that. All of that.
Last week I finally, after three postponements, got wheeled into theatre for a bit of day surgery to find out What’s Up. Nothing I hope but some samples will discover the truth.
A few years ago I would have carried on making the Christmas cards even though I was full of anaesthetic. Last week I did not. I rested. The OH couldn’t quite manage to make me a meal, though he managed to make steak and chips for himself, so I lived off tea, which he could make and biscuits and I didn’t worry about it. And when I felt better I made some cards and stopped before I was knackered and went to bed.
So I just finished the cards last night. Today I will write them. Everybody says how much they love my hand made cards. I made 70. How many cards do I get back? About 50. How many are hand made? About none.
It is the 70th Miniatura coming up. I will help a sensible amount. I will dress dolls a few at a time. I will write my book. I will rest and do my arm exercises. I will look after me.
I have been worrying about how I can possibly look after the OH when his health crashes, as it must surely do. I was worrying how I could explain that I cannot lift him or do everything if it comes to that, with a weak arm full of metal.
But perhaps I don’t have to. Perhaps from now on the person to look after is me.
I’m off to write some cards. Slowly.
Take care of yourself this Christmas season. ’Tis the season to walk carefully on the snow, but only if you have to, and have a bit of a lie-in, but only if you want to and have special food, but only if you fancy it and can be bothered.
HO HO HO