This morning was a particularly difficult one for dragging myself out of bed. About 2 minutes before my alarm went off, Child2 came into our room and placed a hand on me and I jumped, startled. Usually I hear them leaving the bedroom and sense them standing beside me long before they even touch me. It’s a sign of how deeply asleep I was last night that I got so very startled.

But I’m feeling frustration and directionless anger. The children are awake and they should be asleep. This is my time, these morning hours before the world awakes. Except the goddamned world keeps waking up with me, and then all I’m doing is having extra time in it rather than ever actually escaping from it.

I delight in the notion of stolen, magical time and witching hours when the world is still apart from the odd traveller on the road, or still 24-hour establishments with humming lights and whirring machines the only sound. I like steady constant noises like those of a ship or a hospital. I find them comforting. I get panicky around ticking and clicking discrete-style noises.

I guess 6am isn’t really the magical hours of potential I’ve been imagining, but it had been feeling a small bit that way with the dark black skies and no noise from the outside world. It had that potential so long as my children stayed in bed for the designated extra 1.5 hours later than when they’ve actually gotten up.

I feel like they stole from me!

And now, with just these 10 minutes of “writing it out” I feel a little calmer about the whole thing. No, I’m not going to say how I was feeling was ridiculous. How I was feeling just “was”, but as with all feelings – good or bad – time has let it drift away like a leaf in a river. Sometimes feelings get stuck, tangled up in the roots and briars at the edge of the stream. And then they stay there ’til they fester and stink.

Breathe. Let the river flow.

***

I have a hope /plan to make some Christmas cake and Christmas pudding this week. They need to be made well in advance of Christmas itself – some say 12 weeks even! And this week should /could be one where I have the time to do it. Of course, I’ll also have the four-year-old help while I’m doing it. But that could have some upsides too.

I need to make a list of the exact ingredients I’ll require and go off and get those.

However.

I’m going to need to buy brandy or whiskey or some such for making them both. And this makes me a little nervous. When I first saw brandy on the ingredients list for the pudding, I went “oh yeah”. I’d forgotten about it! And then my brain imagined me preparing the pudding. And then my brain imagined me drinking a few glasses of the brandy.

Because I’m on holidays, and cooking used to be one of my favourite drinking times, and it’s Christmassy and brandy used to be one of my favourite drinking drinks.

And my brain put forward that sly query of “would it be so bad?” and “surely I’m fine now, so I could ‘enjoy’ myself a little”.

And I felt scared and nervous about it.

I’ve held that feeling with me over the past couple of days and I’ve imagined my way all the way ’round and through it, and it does feel less intimidating now. But initially it blindsided me. You see, I actually thought I’d gone through, out, past any possibility that I’d even want to have an alcoholic drink again. I’d slipped into auto-pilot and viewed the whole thing as a solved problem. But auto-pilot driving can be dangerous, especially if something unexpected, non-routine comes up.

So, I’m going to make those items later in the week (well, I plan to in any case, and then we’ll see where we are), and I’m going to enjoy the cooking smells and I’m going to enjoy the strong pungent wafting of the brandy and spices through the air. And later, come Christmas, I’m even going to enjoy eating them. But when I’m done, I won’t keep the brandy in the house. To begin with, I won’t buy so very much. And to finish with, whatever’s left will go down the drain.

Because I don’t trust myself? Yeah, I kind of don’t trust myself. There’s a 99.9% chance that everything would be okay, and I know I’m fine staying in my parents’ house, and lord knows they have a lot of brandy in that house! But let’s not poke the bruise. I’m not even seven months into this journey. I won’t set myself up to fail just yet.

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