The Magic of Christmas was missing from the early hours when my son insisted that we get up. The memories of past family Christmases cast a long shadow as the sun slowly rose. My children were happy enough with their presents - two of them got exactly what they asked for and Smiley got clothes and DVDs. Then their Dad arrived early and stayed for the mad scramble to unwrap the presents under the tree. He took Angel and aspie boy off for a couple to hours to see his family and I headed out with Smiley to get some fresh air. Our destination? Dublin's Phoenix Park to take part in a mile 'race' for the Irish overseas aid charity Goal. It was mild, windy and fairly bright.
There were lots of other families there - including one other buggy - and Smiley got quite excited.
I pushed her round the grassy course - my workout for the day - and Smiley enjoyed watching all the runners overtaking us - and we both felt a lot better after our little outing.
Back home and Smiley relaxed with a DVD while I got my first ever Christmas Dinner started with the help of Angel, who prepared the stuffing and the Tiramisu. I also had to lay the table...having seen what other people do, I will have to put in a bit more effort next year.
Dinner was lovely and all the kids were on good form - but I am banned from sharing the photographs!
Now I am looking forward to the New Year. Not my birthday, as reaching 50 is worrying me more than I expected, but rather putting the sadness and challenges of 2011 behind me and getting on with my life. This is what my Dad would have wanted and it's certainly what my children need.
But 2011 was good in many ways, including here. It's my second full year of blogging and I think I'm now comfortable with it. I don't have to work at it. Sometime ideas just pop into my head and other times stuff that's bothering me becomes clearer once I write about it. I'm still wary about over-sharing and boring people, but I do plan to put more posts on Facebook after one of my best friends asked had I stopped blogging. I don't think that will happen any time soon, especially as two posts in particular got an amazing reaction. I was still in shock when I wrote about the first big meltdown, but somehow it struck a chord with readers, including many who'd never looked at my stuff before. So many people said nice things about it, including one journalist I admire who simply tweeted: 'Keep on writing. :)'
Then last month while reeling from the death of my Dad, the Irish Budget was announced and it included a provision to reduce the Disability Living Allowance for young people with disabilities, and some politicians were reported to be have said that they should all be able to work. I looked at my daughter and, still reeling from the death of my Dad, I wrote a post asking what job would be suitable for her. I tweeted it once, maybe twice, and someone picked it up and then someone else, and it snowballed and soon my @mentions looked like this:
I was overwhelmed by all the lovely comments and I hope that it helped to make a difference - I was one of a number of parents who spoke out, and this Budget provision is now being revisited. And today I wake up to find that my favourite post of the year has been included in an amazing roundup of some of the year's best blogs. So I will keep on blogging...
I'm submitting this to #R2BC, one of my favourite linkies as just taking part makes me feel more cheerful.