Boxing Day – the spider won

We have arrived back from Ballarat from our third Christmas celebration, and though very weary the kids are happy to finally carefully analyse their loot and play!

Last night was MotH’s family’s celebration which is a very big noisy affair – 21 people and it went for 6 hours. The night is full of eating & joking, with a visit from Santa for all the grandchildren before all the presents are opened. The children range in age from 23 to almost 3, and I have to say they are an absolutely wonderful bunch of kids. They all enjoy each other’s company immensely, including the big ones down to the little ones. The role of Santa is performed by whoever gets suckered in on the day, but it is usually Uncle Sam. You have to pardon the photo – it’s my ham-fisted attempt with my blackberry #fail.

This year’s festivities included a pinata, and poor Rudolph ended up obliterated. Kid 1 scored Rudolph’s head as a trophy for mounting as she accomplished the beheading.

It is a very gregarious event, which usually goes to about 11.30pm when all kids get upset that the adults are tired and need to go home. They are especially upset as after Christmas Day the families all spread out on holidays – some head to the High Country, others to coast. They do not catch up again until late January, when it’s time to go back to school.

So getting ready this morning to head to Ballarat for my family’s Christmas was a bit difficult. Having planned to leave at 11am, Kid2 could not be coaxed from bed until 10.40am and everyone was moving at a very slow pace. We reached Ballarat by 1.20pm, but as my older brother wasn’t due til 2 we were still ‘on time’. My family’s affair is much smaller – 11 in total, with only 4 children. It is quieter and more refined, or as Kid1 and Kid2 would put it – boring. The other 2 children are much younger, with my niece at 6 and my nephew at 18 months. While they do enjoy each other’s company, the rambunctiousness is just not present. My brother’s children are ever mindful of ‘inside voices’, and are quite meek and polite. After the rowdiness of MotH’s clan, my children are underwhelmed by this behaviour and it takes a while for things to warm up. A lovely day was enjoyed though, and so we set off home.

Which is where the spider enters the story. For, of course, Kid2 spies the spider on entering the car to leave. And promptly refuses to get in. After a not quite thorough search by parents who just want to leave, my family of four gets into the car and trundles off. The spider waits for his moment, and as I am hurtling along at 110km per hour, he makes his appearance.

Do you know how hard it is to keep an eye on the spider running across the back window while you are driving at 110km per hour?? Add to this, two hysterical, screaming girls who have unfastened seat belts to avoid the marauder, one angry MotH yelling at the girls to stop screaming, and in the meantime the spider’s taken to the roof of the car, and is apparently poised right over the driver’s head – that’s right – over MY head.

And this is where the spider wins, because as soon as I have the opportunity I pull the car to the side of the road and all four bodies pile out the car. A five minute, more thorough search finds the little bugger hiding under my sun-visor, and one minute later he meets his death, squished on the windscreen. Though he gave his life, I still say he won as he completely detrailed our trip home and scared the willies out of at least three of us. It seems silly to add at this stage that the spider was not huge, not even a huntsman, but instead was about 2 cm with full leg span and obviously of the garden variety.

There is no lesson in this. I am just glad to get home, and am glad there are no more Xmas events for 12 months. I enjoy them but I am weary. Now we rest up for New Year’s.

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