Last Christmas we hosted and cooked for 18 members of our nearest and dearest. These included my divorced parents and stepmother, my lesbian sister in law and her new and quite publicly affectionate partner, the incredibly Victorian in laws who could not hide their disapproval for their daughter’s “new friend”, our 90-year-old Christian next-door neighbours, who were more than confused by the family tree spread out in front of them and aunties, uncles and cousins all with their own particular quirks, including various degrees of OCD, alcoholism and depression. This led to what ended up being a peculiar and chaotic, but surprisingly wonderful day.
Even though one particular aunt spoke to me in detail, no less than 8 times, about how, in her opinion, our bowls were entirely the wrong shape to fit anywhere satisfactorily in the dishwasher, and the conversation around the dinner table included why our bin was always full and whether or not we feed our dog enough. (The general consensus being that we couldn’t possibly. Why would he need to steal so much food if we weren’t clearly starving him to death? Our cries of “because he is a dog” going completely unheard), these judgments on our clearly hopeless and poorly organized existence did not take away from my enjoyment of the day. The sheer cacophony of inane chatter and casual critism seemed to cancel out my reaction to it. Seeing family members muddling along on their various spectrums made me feel almost normal, it was like speed dating in a psychiatric hospital. What I realised was that having other peoples’ eccentricities to over shadow your own is actually quite useful at Christmas, which is a time where ones own lunacy will undoubtedly rear its ugly head.
Even though the potatoes were like lumps of coal, the dog stole and ate the Christmas pudding and great auntie Barbara kept inexplicably bursting into tears; I think I want to do it again!
This Christmas however I will have recently given birth. The question is, will sleep deprivation, a new baby and the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies early motherhood mean that I am the one weeping over the cheese board? If anyone mentions the underfed pooch this year it could be a very different story, I could end up crying and lactating in the camper van on the drive with the dog, a baby, an over done nut roast and far too many hormones.
Helen also performs a comedy show for mums.
Gas and Hot Air’ is an hour long, daytime show about pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. Performed by actress and mum Helen Rutter in comedy clubs and small theatres, written during breastfeeding, sleepless nights and copious amounts of weight watchers cake. Babies under one are welcomed with open arms as long as they can’t move much and don’t mind a bit of fruity language.
For more information on venues and tickets contact Helen.