Merry Christmas to all of my amazing readers, I love all of your comments and the support you give me.
The Art of Healing Christmas Ficlet:
It was most definitely snowing, I lay in my bed feeling the change in air surround me. I couldn’t resist a wee peek outside, just to see the first flurry of snow.
I stoked the fire in the master bedroom and went to the window, the ground was already blanketed in white.
I wondered if Jenny was awake. As children we used to stay up and wait to see the first snow, mesmerised as the first flakes fell.
I should have stayed at Lallybroch over Christmas, this house was too unfamiliar and the few furnishing I possessed failed to make it feel like home.
Resolving to stay over there tomorrow night so that I could spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Murray’s, I crawled back into bed, it was too cold to be out from under the covers.
. . . . . .
While making the one kilometre trip from my house to Lallybroch, I decided I needed to come up with a name for the house; I couldn’t keep calling it the Beauchamp house, or the project house. Perhaps my nephew and nieces could help me name it.
I pulled into the driveway and it took 10 seconds for the kitchen door to fly open, Jenny called a greeting and young Jamie came barrelling towards me.
“Ye’ve decided to stay wi’ us for Christmas then brother?”
“Aye, if ye’ll have me.”
“Of course, the bairns will be excited.” She hugged me, and as she pulled away she said, “But ye ken what this means don’t ye? Ye’ll have to be Father Christmas? Ian is no’ convincing with that limp of his.”
I laughed “Well ok then, as long as I dinna have to stay dressed up for long, that suit is itchy.”
She took my bag. “Come in, I’ll fix ye lunch.”
. . . . . .
Jamie, Maggie and wee Kitty were most effective at keeping me busy and entertained, I had no idea how much work they could be.
Jenny was busy in the kitchen, the delicious aromas of her cooking wafting through the house. Ian was running errands on his wife’s beck and call, picking up all of the fixings to make the Christmas feasts fabulous.
I took the youngins out to make snow angels after lunch. Young Jamie whooped with glee as frolicked in the snow, Maggie was more reserved about the process but didn’t hesitate to insist that her angel was by far the nicest looking one. Wee Kitty didn’t cooperate at all, preferring to be held while she watched her siblings.
I turned to wave to Jenny in the kitchen, Kitty mimicked my wave and giggled. Before I had turned around to face the children again, there was a blood curdling scream.
Maggie cried “Uncoooooooooooooooo!!! Jamie threw a snowbaw at me!”
The young master smiled guiltily in the shadow of the previously built snow man.
“She was teasing my angels, she said they were messy!”
I knelt down in front of Young Jamie. “It isna nice to throw things at our siblings Jamie, even if ye didna like what Maggie said to ye, it wasna the right thing to do.”
“I ken it Uncle. I’m sorry.”
“Ye need to apologise to Maggie too.”
He looked at his sister, stood up straight and said stiffly, “I’m sorry sister, I willna do it again.”
“Come wee ones, lets go inside, get out of our wet clothes and ask yer Mam for some hot cocoa.”
. . . . .
The remainder of the afternoon went by without incident. I helped the bairns to colour their pictures for Father Christmas. Kitty finally napped, unfortunately this happened in my arms, so I had no choice but to hold whispered conversations for two hours while she slept.
By 5pm I was starving and the kids had become slightly unruly.
I yelled for Jenny. “When do ye think we might be eating Janet? The bairns are hungry, and so am I.”
“Yeh can be helpful and set the table for me! Dinner will be ready soon!” She called back.
“Come Jamie, Maggie, let’s go and set the table.” I shooed them into the dining room, and supervised as they clumsily set out plates and silverware. Once they had finished they took their seats at the table, and I put Kitty into her high chair.
“While we wait lets play a game, it’s called ‘Let’s Name Uncle Jamie’s New House’” I hoped this would be enough to distract them, and at the same give me inspiration.
Young Jamie was the first to pipe up. “How about Snow Sparkle.” It was suddenly evident that I’d forgotten I was talking to children under the age of six.
I chuckled. “That’s an interesting idea, any others?”
Every nonsensical name under the sun had been suggested. Young Jamie had an unstoppable case of the giggles after suggesting a name pertaining to human waste. He didn’t stop until his Mother entered the room.
“What is God’s name is going on in here Jamie? I thought ye were setting the table.” She cast a scrutinising eye over the table we had laid.
“Jamie and Maggie have finished the table Janet.” I said putting on my most solemn look. “We were just discussing names for my house.”
“I see.” She wandered out to the kitchen, and came back a short moment later, her arms laden with pork and apples, roasted potatoes and my favourite brown sugar glazed carrots. “How about Fir Lodge? Ye’ve all those pretty fir trees about, and it willna offend others if ye dinna include Fraser in the name.”
I chose to ignore her subtle dig at Claire. I thought the name she had suggested was quite perfect actually. “I like that very much Jenny, Fir Lodge it is.”
I sensed that Jenny was about to continue her assault of the homes previous owner, so I was thankful that Ian chose this moment to walk in the door.
“Da!!!” The children yelled, hugging Ian tightly around the middle. “We’ve made snow angels with Uncle, and made a drawing for Father Christmas, and Uncle’s house is called Fir Lodge, and Uncle says he’s going to read us a bedtime story.”
“It sounds like ye’ve been very busy.” He cast twinkling eyes in my direction, clearly amused at the fact that I was still living after enduring all of these activities with three small children.
Jenny clapped, “All right ye lot, go wash up, dinner is ready.”
. . . . . . .
I was so full, I’d eaten far too much. The children had fallen silent at the table clearly feeling the same way. The meal had been delicious, there was no more room for third or fourth helpings, and the silence attested to everyone’s contentment.
The reverie was broken by Jenny as she left to get the children bathed and into pyjamas. Ian and I were left to do the dishes.
Ian was in a conversational mood as we cleaned the dishes, “It’s nice to have ye about Jamie, the bairns like spending time with their Uncle.”
“It’s good of ye lot to have me, it’s been a little lonely being by myself at times. And your rabble of bairns certainly keep me preoccupied, and I do love them so.” I smiled as I said this, I really was very fond of my nieces and nephew.
“I’m glad to hear it. I hope, then, that you’ll have room to love another niece or nephew.”
I shot him a look. “Ye aren’t saying? Jenny is pregnant again?”
“She is, she’ll be two months along next week.” Ian was beaming, elated that he could share the news with someone else.
“Congratulations to ye both!” I held up my half empty wine glass. “Sláinte.”
I drained the glass, unsure what to say next.
“Jamie, I ken what happened with ye, Murtagh told me.” Ian shifted a little uncomfortably. “It will happen for ye too, when the time is right.”
“I know.” I said simply.
I heard a clattering down the hallway, and when I looked down I saw Kitty at my feet bouncing, she was waiting to be picked up. I lifted her up, kissing her rosy little cheeks. “Is it story time then wee’un?” I asked her even though I knew it wouldn’t garner a response.
I clapped Ian on the back, thanked him, and carried Kitty with me into the sitting room to sit before the fire.
We settled into the large armchair, and before long I had Young Jamie and Maggie on my lap as well.
“Will ye read this book to us Uncle?” Young Jamie held up a book.
“Of course I will, make yerselves comfortable.” Maggie moved to lay on a cushion on the floor in front of the fire, young Jamie nestled back onto me, and Kitty remained tucked into the crook of my arm.
I began to read. “A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost. Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register.....”
Two chapters in and I was yawning, I looked to Maggie who was asleep under her dressing gown, Jamie and Kitty were both asleep on me. I leant my head back, closing my eyes, feeling the steady breathing of the bairns.
Somewhere in the distance I could hear Jenny placing presents under the tree, and setting out cookies for Father Christmas. I’d been lightly dozing when I felt her putting a blanket over us. I opened my eyes to look at her and thanked her wordlessly.
She smiled at me, and went to kiss each of the bairns, and then bent over to kiss my forehead. “Good night Jamie.”
. . . . . .