We have been a large but steadily shrinking party. My brother and his wife, son and daughter are staying with my mother but eating here, and Daughter 2 and her fiancé have been with us, as was Son. So we were thirteen on Christmas Day when my confused aunt was of the party. Then twelve for a couple of days, till our son went back up north. Then Daughter 1 and her husband went down south yesterday to be with his parents so today there were nine of us. Tomorrow Daughter 2's chap, my nephew and my niece all head back to England, so we'll be six. My brother and his wife remain till the 2nd and Daughter 2 heads back down to her new life in London on the 3rd. And that will be that.
It's been a time of mixed emotions. It's lovely to have the children but we're very aware that they're visitors now, which is painful, especially since Daughter 2 is going to be in London for the foreseeable future and we're not convinced that marriage to someone trying to make a living as an actor is entirely the path to happiness. Her six-week London job is continuing at least for a while, which is of course good from the point of view of continuing to earn; but her absence leaves a huge hole in our hearts.
However, Daughter 1 and her husband popped in unexpectedly early yesterday to give us some wonderful news:
All going well, we should become grandparents in July. I know it happens all the time, but when it happens to you, it's very exciting! And worrying.
It's going to be a busy year. My mother is going to move in with us once we've sold her flat and found something (what???) to do with her very many household effects. The little person above should be joining us in July. And Daughter 2 is getting married in September, an event for which so far only the church, the hotel and the ceilidh band have been organised.
Mixed emotions indeed. Almost too much to cope with.