The Very Definition of Exhaustion

It’s the 28th of December 8:30 at night and I’m done, ready for bed. It’s been a big week. This time last week I was leaving home for work – night duty. It was a busy night. Sick children kept on coming through the door. Sleep on Monday was broken. Awake every hour, up for a toilet stop every 2 hours, I know, too much information! Monday night was another busy night. This time I spent a lot of time wrapping presents for the kids who will have the misfortune to need a trip to hospital on Christmas Day. Hopefully, the presents are a little piece of joy in their day.

So, after 2 night shifts and a quick nap, the Pazzo needed to go to work, so the kids were mine to entertain! I trundled them off to the movies. It’s about all I could manage. Then, while I was watching the movie, I had a bright idea. We bought what we need to make dinner and went home, dumped the dinner stuff and caught the train into the city to pick up the last of the Christmas presents. By now the Pazzo was at his mate’s place for an end of year/Christmas barbecue, so I didn’t need to be home anytime soon, but it was a quick trip anyway. I didn’t have the patience to look around too much, we didn’t need a lot either. At home we all knocked up dinner together and I fell into bed. Finally a solid sleep.

Wednesday morning saw me struggling to wake and get moving, but I did, and we headed to the foothills of the Dandenong ranges for cherry picking. On the way home we stopped at the market to stock up on fruit and vegetables as well as prawns, ham and a few groceries. Home to clean, tidy, wrap the last presents, wash the kids. Then it was time to leave for the Pazzo’s brother’s place for the our usual Christmas Eve meal. It was more exciting this year because one of the Pazzo’s cousins and her family were over from Italy. It’s traditionally a meat free meal, it’s an Italian thing. My sister-in-law is Turkish and makes some beautiful vegetarian dishes, red lentil fingers, cheeses in pastry and then fried, zucchini fritters. All delicious, all consumed with “gusto”. I should have stopped eating then, but the Pazzo’s prawns came next and a porcini risotto (I had to give that a miss, mushrooms, especially porcini, are something I really don’t like). Tiramisu and lemon ricotta cake finished us all off. Completely. It was a night of good company, a catch up with cousins who haven’t seen each other for a while, a welcome to Australia. It was a very late night, Christmas Eve always is!

Christmas Day arrived. There was no sleep-in though, in fact, barely enough sleep to function, but given the neighbours were landing on our door step mid morning, things had to be done. Cupcakes needed to be made. A creme brûlée also to be made. Thank goodness it was the neighbours. We have known them a long time. Even before we were neighbours, before either of us had kids. It was an easy going brunch, the kids kept happy with good play mates and new toys. The adults happy with good company and the comfort of being in a familiar house, on a day where the rules were relaxed. It’s a slow affair, no one too eager to eat, no one wanting to drink. Finally a chance to relax, to rest.

A slow afternoon, spent with the kids, setting up their new games. Watching them see how fast they bowl a cricket ball, then try to do it faster! Then we are away again. To Nonna’s for our Christmas Day celebration. We are up to 3 big meals in 2 days and another late night.

Boxing Day was another early morning. We had to be at my sister’s place for lunch. It is on the other side of the city. Brandy, oops no brandy, whiskey butter and a glazed ham had to be made before we left. We took the rest of the presents from under the tree. Now it looks bare, spent, the same way I feel! This is the day where the pudding finally got its moment to shine, so into the car with it, along with what felt like half our house! We stay for lunch and dinner. The kids run with their cousins, swim with their cousins. Every time we say it’s nearly time to go, there’s a chorus of, “No, can’t we stay longer, can’t we walk around the block to see the lights?” Finally we leave, finally we fall into bed.

I sleep, unbroken for more than 9 hours. I knew I was tired but I usually don’t sleep that long or late. Finally a quasi day off. With Ivy’s birthday the next day (today, that is) and the Italian cousins coming, (their youngest is turning 8, sharing his birthday with Ivy,) there’s a cake to be made, chicken to be marinated, another present to buy, yet another list of things to get done.

We made it into bed at a reasonable time. The kids are finally showing signs of tiredness, late nights and early mornings. There was no early morning this morning. Ivy was last out of bed and it’s her birthday. A sure sign of too much partying. The Pazzo is cooking. I manage to clean the whole house and then it’s showtime, again.

The neighbours arrive. The cousins arrive. The meal is cooked, eaten, enjoyed. Lazy timing again, a long period of digestion between the main meal and birthday cake. I was spurred into getting dessert ready by Ivy’s cousin’s subtle hint of, “Torta, tempo per torta?” (The translation is “Cake, is it time for cake?”) The delight in his eyes after I’d written their names on the cake and let him decorate it with sugary sculptures of balls (bought ones, not homemade) made it worth the effort to make the cake. He really enjoyed eating it as well.

A cobbled together dinner with the neighbours and finally we are done, finished. The festivities are over. I am the very definition of exhaustion. It’s time to catch up on sleep, to relax, to spend some quality time with my cheeky ones and the Pazzo. My favourite people!

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