“If Mother had only been away for a little while and not for always, we shouldn’t have been so keen on having a Christmas. I didn’t understand this then, but I am much older now, and I think it was because everything as so different and horrid we felt we must do something, and perhaps we were not particular enough what. Things only make you much more unhappy when you loaf about than when you are doing events.”
And so begins The Conscience Pudding, by E.Nesbit, and one of the books in our basket of Christmas books.
I have always loved the Bastable family, after being introduced to them as a child through E Nesbit’s books. I loved their unity and the fact that they were unorthodox and that they pulled together through trials.
I loved their adventures.
This Christmas was a Conscience Pudding Christmas for us. Things were different and yes, as a mother, I knew that we should not merely loaf around.
Our Conscience Pudding Christmas had us participating in Midnight Mass at a convent and not in our parish.
Our Conscience Pudding Christmas had us sharing chocolate and fruit for breakfast, giving each other, warts and all.
Our Conscience Pudding Christmas had us playing a “band”, of wind instruments from our Christmas crackers, performing carols amid yells and shouts and chaos and jokes.
So, it was a different Christmas but not a “plain old pudding” Christmas, to quote Oswald Bastable.
And it brought home to me the importance of both flexibility and ritual, of celebrating change, of parenting and of Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Empathy takes time, and efficiency is for things, not people.”
Education takes time, mothering takes time, relationship takes time, healing after feeling broken takes time…and Christmas takes time.
That has been our Conscience Pudding realisation.