By Megan Egan
A very different festive break
Wholesome, family-orientated, eye-opening and sober – the words that would never normally describe my experience of the period between Christmas Eve and New Years Day, but this year, I’m trying something new.
One of our assignments over the Christmas break was to end the year with no regrets, and make time for the important things we often forget. I always feel like I’m forced into squeezing in time for a phone call with my mum, and I’m definitely guilty of reading her texts and then forgetting to reply. Usually, when I go back to Birmingham, I stay at a friends house and cram some time in with mum at some point, but this time, I’ve tipped the scales and stayed with mum, prioritising family over everything else.
My mum is a total movie buff, and always asks me to go to the cinema with her or watch TV with her. I on the other hand, have a very short attention span and little to no interest in the movies and period dramas she watches. However, as I said, this break I’m trying something new, so with an open mind, I asked her to show me some of her favourite movies.
First up, Legends of the Fall, a movie featuring a young and wild Brad Pitt. My summary of this movie is a floozy who wants to get with 3 brothers, especially after one of them gets killed in battle… It was watchable, I didn’t hate it.
Next, my mum’s all-time favourite – Dirty Dancing. This was a feel good, easy-to-watch movie featuring Patrick Swayze as a dance instructor falling madly in love with Baby, who is on holiday with her parents. There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of musical nostalgia and an uplifting message about love and morals. Yeah, it felt like I was in the summer of 1963 – I liked it.
Another new thing I tried over the Christmas break was staying sober (bar a few tipples on Christmas Day of course, that would be criminal!). Asides from having a cold, I feel so refreshed from this break, and have been really productive, rather than just living from hangover to hangover. It also allowed me to be there more for my family – if I’d been drinking, I wouldn’t have been able to rush down to A&E when my nan got taken in by paramedics, or drive up to see my grandad when he was having a bad day with Parkinson’s.
It’s been a weird Christmas – it’s shown me just how fragile life is, and how everyone is ageing and fighting their own battles. My mum has arthritis in her hip, and seems to get less mobile every time I visit. My grandad, a man who was always so proud of his work in the building trade, and fiercely independent, now can’t even hold a drink without pouring it all over himself, and can barely pull up his own socks. My nan was hospitalised, with something as small as a cold, which has now turned into pneumonia and influenza. She is still in critical care and fighting for her life.
With all this in mind, it was hard to feel festive when the new year rolled in, sat on the sofa at midnight having just got back from hospital, facing the prospect of losing yet another family member; but then Chic came on the TV, and mum starting sharing her favourite disco tracks with me and we started laughing about how they used to dance to them. You see, no matter how bad times get, I know that my friends and family will always be able to make me smile, and that’s why I’m so glad I brought in the New Year with mum, on the sofa. Maybe I’ll do it again next year.
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