Day 30 of the Shoe Challenge – Not Even Slightly Sparkly Sandals

There are times when I want to run away from all this festive carry on – as I get older the Twelve Days of Christmas represent nothing more than an excess of excessiveness. Too much frantic shopping, food, alcohol, excitement and activity.  In my case you can add too much footwear to the general excessive of the season.

If you read my blog post yesterday you might be forgiven for  thinking that I live a profligate life with little regard for anything but brightly coloured baubles.  Admittedly, I did nothing to dismiss accusations of  flippancy by sticking my legs in the air for an impromptu photoshoot on the boardroom table. It was fun at the time.

Bear in mind though that what you see of me and my shoes in this blog is what I want you to see of me.  The shoes that you have seen this week are the sparkling snow clad mountain top that pokes up  over a shoe collection that also includes sandals, flip flops, sandshoes and other entirely unglamourous things. By writing about brightly coloured shoes and boots though this week, I have been distracting myself from focussing on how far away my family is and how bereft that makes me feel.

The distance between Sydney and Paisley is something that I feel more keenly every year. Every year is a year closer to losing one and then finally both of my parents forever. Also, this year more than anything else in the world  I want to hold my 4 month old niece Rachel in my arms.

The greatest gift that I could have is the opportunity to nuzzle the side of her head where the hair is suede soft, to breathe in that exquisite sweet smell that babies until they start eating solids; to hug my sister and my parents hard and tell they are amazing.

So, please people – this Christmas please refrain from moaning about your families, as Rick Morton so eloquently puts it

The simple, sad fact of the matter is if you have a family, you are already doing better than most.

And spending the day with them on Christmas is a novelty indeed.

And so on Christmas Eve I have chosen to reveal possibly my favourite pair of sandals. These are simplest and most comforting sandals that I could find to wear. My Mum chose and bought for me with love on a trip to Israel a long time ago.

Now do me a favour – as soon as you can after reading this go do a wee bit of yoga for me, it will only take five minutes.  Find someone that you love – ask them for a hug. As you hug them attend to being in the moment of that hug. Don’t think about anything else or let anything distract your attention.  While you hug that person remember that every single one of us is loved like crazy by someone else. It is possible in a hug to find a moment of eternity and if you find it, let me know.

Happy Christmas x

16 thoughts on “Day 30 of the Shoe Challenge – Not Even Slightly Sparkly Sandals

  1. I miss my family so much at the holidays. I miss my Mum and Dad terribly. They were both taken away far to early, and I wish we could have had more Christmases together. I miss my brother and sister, and my nephew, and my sister in law back home in California. I miss my dear friends back home, who are like sisters to me.

    I miss just being home: walking on the beach, going Christmas tree shopping, wrapping up the gifts and delivering them in person, eating Christmas dinner with family, and talking about everything and nothing.

    I miss going home to our own quiet house, just me and my husband, after spending a hectic Christmas Day with both our families. I miss relaxing into the serene quiet that Christmas Day night brings, when it’s just the two of us, our dog, and whatever little gifts we’ve held back to give to each other in the last moments of Christmas.

    I miss the lights, the sounds, the joy of Christmas at home with family and friends.

    No matter where we are, or how long we’ve been away, nowhere else on earth could ever be home.

    Merry Christmas CC, I do hope that one of these days we can all get together for a proper MacG Christmas. I know, when that day comes, my Mum and Dad will be right there with us, in spirit, enjoying the love that only comes when families are together.

    • Last year when I saw the Facebook photos with shrine to your Dad that the D put up I cried for hours. They were taken away too quickly your mum and dad but they are not really gone. Your dad in particular is still with us – he lives on through all of you. You have noticed that we all have the feet, the same short fuse when it comes to space invasion and smelly people and the same odd sense of humour. Thankfully we are all together now – thanks to the MagiK of the Internets. Much love to you both – do not forget to hug C and Rufus.

      • Speaking of family, it was so wonderful to see your Mum and Dad when they were in NYC. I’ve wanted so badly for Chris to meet family from my Dad’s side, and now he has met everyone…except for you. This situation must be addressed.

        I wanted to hug someone, per your instructions, but with Chris in DC on tour, and family and friends back in SoCal and abroad, there just wasn’t anyone available. So, I have sent virtual hugs and lovely warm wishes to all who matter most to me. I hope you felt the love I sent your way.

      • Och hen, if I had known you were totally on your own we would have dressed the weans up in See You Jimmy hats, got you on Skype & done impromptu Michael Flatley impersonations in high heels. Even if that had not cheered you up it would have reminded you that sometimes being in a house full of people has its downside. The number of injuries inflicted by drunken Christmas relatives is not reported but apparently quite horrifc in scale. Gies a call if you are feeling lonely.

  2. Oh honey – Thank you for this post. This is my first Christmas without parents, but I am so blessed to have the rest of my family, and DOC and my kids, especially my kids, who hug me when I’m sad about my family or my life.
    I so feel for you hon, and I love, love, love your sandals 🙂
    I hope that you had a Happy Day and all is well *many hugs and all the good energy I can send your way* You are a wonderful person, so very kind.
    You deserve all good stuff and too much to write here…
    Just, Thank you for being you 🙂

  3. What a beautifully poignant post, CC. I know exactly how you feel. I have no family here, other than that which I inherited due to a moment of madness called marriage. When I worked for Qantas, I was able to get back to the UK , almost every year. Regrettably, that’s not possible now, but the family are always in my thoughts, so I give them virtual hugs. One is on the way to you, right now. xxx

    • Hey Fender – thank you for your kind words, it has stopped me flagellating myself which I was doing quite effectively earlier today. We ex-pats are in self-imposed exile. It does not matter if it is by choice, it is still painful. I have not been home in 10 years since I migrated. For the first few years it was like being on holiday and my family visited regularly. Both my parents have had health issues that have prevented one or either them coming here for the last few years. It is too expensive for us all to travel as a family so my only hope is to get the Boss to open up a London office I think …

    • Did you find a moment in eternity or did she whack you with a dish-cloth & tell you to stop messing up her clothing? One never knows the outcome of a yoga hug, it is part of the journey x

  4. I’m so far behind…forgive me! But I’m all teary-eyed now and grateful for this post, after a rough visit with my mother.

    My husband’s family is so close, and they take it for granted. They can’t imagine a world in which families are separated or estranged, and so my life seems odd to them. This is a great reminder to value what we have, in spite of the “problems” we see with it.

    Hugs, M. xoxo

    • It is so bloody hard to live in the moment. The struggle for me is that I am not comfortable in that moment but I have to look into that discomfort and find some space to breathe. Luckily I have my husband and my kids who are my own home-grown family but I cannot detach from the perception of the family Christmasses that I have lost. Hey, it is all part of the journey as a friend once said to me – Why should *you* be happy all the time?

  5. Hello there

    Belated xmas and new year wishes from one expat separated from family to another. Hope you get to travel home in 2010 and give your wee niece that hug….

    And hope to see you in Syd sometime soon. 🙂 xx

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