If there is one important lesson that Eric and I have learned this year, it is that the ‘Terrible Twos’ do not stop when a child reaches the age of three. If anything, Joseph has gotten worse – his age-two stubbornness and refusal to listen to reason remain, compounded now with a refusal to apologise for anything, and a bedtime stubbornness that sometimes means it takes hours to get him to sleep. Naturally, if he wakes up at any point during the night, he storms into our bed kicking and screaming, and shouts “I want daddy out!” if I should dare to remain sleeping in my own bed rather than moving to his.
And so he remains true to form tonight. It’s 10:30 on New Years’ Eve, a time when for many 20-somethings, the evening is just getting started in a buzzing pub or nightclub.
I am sitting at home on my own, briefly resting between bouts of frenzied tidying, waiting for Eric to finish work so that we can go to her parents’, pick up Joseph and come back here again on Christmas day. Our usual flustered, panicked holiday season awaits us, every glorious insane minute of it.
But though our Christmas tree is small, its lights twinkle in the gathering dusk. Though it’s not even on the ground, presents are piled underneath it anyway. And though we are still far apart for now, tomorrow we’ll be together, a family around our Christmas tree unwrapping presents while the snow clings to the frozen ground outside.