I am excited, I don't see them so much now our children are all at senior school. I light candles the night before and set about writing Christmas cards for them all. I 'Facebook' Ruth and she apparently already has her Christmas tree up, so I tell her I am taking cards to our meal out and that if she does too it might discourage the others from groaning when I produce them with a flourish!
We sit in the restaurant. They groan as predicted. I watch them all and feel slightly removed. They are bogged down with domesticity, they moan about their husbands. They have become 'middle aged'.
This is the first year that we have not all come together and thrown a Christmas party for all our children. I feel sad at the loss but they seem to be pleased not to have to spend the afternoon with their own offspring. At least we have got ourselves together I think.
We chat for hours, and perhaps predictably, I am the one who is most likely to tell a 'rude' joke or a risky story and then think perhaps I should 'modify' my behaviour. I am beginning to feel that I have moved on, I am enjoying my life, my children, my own world.
As we leave I wonder finally if this is the last time we will all get together in the last few days of November. We have thrown a children's party for 14 years and now this. Good things come to an end, perhaps I shouldn't hold on to them for so long. The page has turned, so much more to look forward to.