Shingle Bells.

A yuletide tale.

My family quite simply, is BANANAS!

Exhibit A.
Exhibit A.

I do love them for it, but when I have spent more than 24 hours with them collectively, I come out the other side feeling exhausted, dehydrated, light sensitive and unable to cope with loud noises. I need to sit in a quiet corner and rock back and forth for a bit till I am able to talk and move again.

When it comes to us and Christmas though, I need to break out my survival kit following carefully steps 1 through to 7 ensuring hard liquor is around step 3 and I utilise electrical tape around step 5. Add a near death experience with a delightfully young, tattooed man during a boxing day road rage incident; a blow up mattress that won’t blow up; a critically acclaimed pavlova making mother, who nervously just wants to know how much longer it needs in the oven, and asks every 5 minutes… and secondly where her wine glass is; me failing at 5 pavlova making attempts, partly to step 3, partly due to my mother’s critiquing eyes; and a flipping selfie stick protruding my personal space perimeter.

…and the Pièce de résistance – my brother-in-law, self-appointed star of this year’s tale, who this time around brought along an intensely painful case of head Shingles….you heard correctly, HEAD SHINGLES…on his head..kinda sorta piercing his brain.

Yep, we have ourselves a very special Xanax Christmas! Deck the halls and someone pass the mulled wine!

I really wouldn’t swap this loud lot for the world. I am the youngest of 4 children and we 3 girls (we have a much older brother living interstate) and my mother are so close, very close and with closeness comes excitement; laughing; wine; tears; yelling; anger; loud noises; leakages; hiding in cupboards to scare each other; singing and coffee. This is usually in the first 5 minutes of being together.

My husband Luke who people often describe as a quiet man will usually wear industrial grade ear muffs the whole time we are all together, under the guise of being in the middle of important lawn mowing business. I see through his flimsy facade. Those lawns are not being mowed..he has his own survival kit in full swing!

So this Christmas well, where do I begin? It is all a cloudy blur to me now, I do have flashbacks but my hypnotherapist assures me a few sessions will sort that out.

I remember snippets, mainly my brother-in-law and the cloud of painkillers he arrived on (to ward off the shingle pain attacks…. to the head). He informed me upon arriving that scientists have said these attacks were also known as suicide headaches because they are so painful you want to crack your head against a wall when they are happening to knock yourself out.
Rum Ball anyone?
It then became quite clear that our beloved shingley man was also quite heavily under the influence of the aforementioned pain meds, so the conversations were interesting and intense and pretty much the reason 5 of my pavlova attempts failed – having someone screaming in your ear ‘that’s not how you whip egg whites’ before laying down on the kitchen floor ..does not help whipping of egg whites.
My sister (his wife) was in a coping mechanism trance of her own, just saying yes to everything he said to keep it all nice and calm. She was truth be told, loving how much he was talking to her and in particular that he was saying yes to her shopping trips and holiday plans..she had hit temporary spousal nirvana and I was not getting in her way.

I haven’t mentioned the kids yet have I?

Well, that is because there is not much to say, as they were too busy sitting back, eyes wide open, watching all the adults like a matinee performance of Circ du Soleil.

I really believed I was Martha Stewart, sent to my family to spread glitter and candy canes and mason jars filled with eucalyptus cuttings festively…however after a bottle and a half of step 3, it all now looked more like the Christmas display at spotlight…sad and ugly with someone under the table sleeping off a bender (shingles).
We managed to finally make it to the table together, to celebrate what life is all about. I took a moment to take in each gorgeous face before me, love bursting through my chest, this really is the point of life, the day we work all year towards, coming together in peace and love and…‘Oh God quick, someone help, he is having a suicide headache!’

Like a frontline paramedic team, they whip into action. One grabs a cold washer, one grabs a timer and the other a selfie stick. I have not witnessed such family choreography since the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
Yep as bananas as they are….that was it…that’s all I had to say.

The truth is they all know I out-crazy them on a quiet day too.


Better go, we still haven’t found the cat and my Brother-in- law is lying on the kitchen floor again, singing desperado and trying to put the selfie stick in the oven. Oh shit, the Pav!!!!

Em xoxo

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