I love the holidays. Santa, jingling bells, toasty scarves, twinkly lights, baubles, choral singing. So it was with huge excitement that we received a beautiful brochure of all the festivities at the Club we had just joined. I'm a sucker for all that Ye Olde romance and so is Kevin. Pity our kids are not the same. (Pic below features smiling parents and pouty children)
It was all there in the brochure. Kevin and I sat ooh-ing and aah-ing over page after page of Christmas festivities illustrated with perfectly nostalgic pictures dating from the 1890's to 1950's. All the special events: Tree Lighting, Teddy Bear Tea, Candlelight Supper, Jingle Bell Lounge, Caroling Buffet and "Sleigh Rides" over the golf course.
You could lose yourself in those pages: a gracious Edwardian mother with her brood at the Tree Lighting; cherubic angels singing for The Caroling Buffet. Then there was the 1950's goofy adults swinging from chandeliers for the Jingle Bell Lounge and a chic St-Moritz cafe scene for the Ladies' Holiday Luncheon. Now this is Christmas.
So it was with great excitement that Kevin and I found ourselves one morning dressing for the Teddy Bear Tea at our Club. Should we go bright party festive or warm sweater dressy? What fun!
Meanwhile I asked my two eldest two boys ages 13 and 11: "Coming to the Teddy Bear Tea?" Their raised eyebrows were the decline. Wow, so cynical at such a young age.
Harley,13, added: "Are we getting a tree this year?...I wouldn't bother". In a way this made sense as we would be up in Tahoe skiing over Christmas Day but I had delusions that somehow our tree-getting tradition was something they too had treasured. Like that madcap scenario in "When Harry Met Sally" when Meg Ryan tumbles adorably home with her tree, arms over legs over tree.
Cy, six, voluntarily put on his tuxedo as he loves to be "fancy" and Tallulah, nine, wore her holiday dress with an un-matching cardigan and scraggy hair. As soon as we arrived in the tea room, Kevin and I found ourselves marvelling at the flawlessness of the setting; the huge white bows on the chair, silver sparkles galore, flowers, shining silverware and white linens on tables with cake stands of teeny scones, cakes and chocolates. Even the teapots were wonderful little fairytale characters.
"Look at this teapot!" Kevin and I laughed as the waiter poured the hot chocolate for the children. My kids slumped into their chairs: "There's nothing here we really like" they grumbled. Cy doesn't eat sweet things except donuts. He is allergic to eggs and can't have real mayonaise. Tallulah just doesn't eat much of anything.They picked at their plates while I marvelled at the Fairy's beautifully embroidered purple dress.
It was their turn to meet the Fairy and they shuffled up to her with arms crossed. No thanks, don't want a balloon they said.
She charmed them enough for a peek of pleasantness from them.
Then back to the table. "We're the oldest kids here" they whined. It turned out we had booked the baby and toddler session and the older kids usually came in the afternoon, but still - is there anything more delightful than seeing a baby's tiny white shoes tumble off and handing them back to the mother?
"I'm so bloody bored!" said Cy "Can we go now?"
And then: "What's for lunch?"
I almost cried. I was thinking of motioning the waiter for a glass of champers but it was 11am and noone else was imbibing so I thought better of it.
We got the kids to briefly pause by the tree for a grumpy photo after which they raced for the door.
"Cy! No! Stop that" I called after him as he started pulling at the back of his trousers.
"I've got an atomic wedgie!" he called back.
"Quick - out!" I hissed.
A couple of nights later, Kevin came back from the Club after playing tennis. "I saw the sleigh ride on the golf course" he said to me sadly. "It looked so much fun..." We bowed our heads, silently picturing bumping round the golf course in a sleigh with our imaginary children squealing with delight, their eyes sparkling... then racing back inside for hot chocolates. And we sighed - for those memories would never be ours.
"Bad news, guys!" called Cy from his bedroom "I've got another wedgie."