Happy (belated) New Year

22

A very happy, if slightly belated, New Year to you all. How were the holidays? Did they go as planned? Did they drag along, or disappear in a flash?

Mine were lovely. My dear old Mum and gorgeous niece arrived a few days before Christmas, as planned, and the whole visit was perfect. It’s not always easy being thrown together with family for extended periods of time in confined quarters, yet we all do it every Christmas and then wonder why it sometimes doesn’t work? Fortunately I didn’t have that problem as mine went really well, but I do sympathies with those that didn’t have such a successful gathering.

I was working on the day they arrived but jumped in the car the minute I finished and whizzed off to pick them up at the airport, with Christmas music blasting out of the speakers in the car. As you can imagine, International Arrivals a few days before Christmas was a bit hectic but my timing was good and I didn’t have long to wait before they arrived.

Mum’s health hasn’t been great this last year, so I had organised a porter with a wheelchair – which she will have hated as she is so independent. Out she wheeled with my niece following behind with all the bags in tow, and I was so happy the Christmas holidays could begin!

Normally when they visit at Christmas I make lots of plans and book activities e.g. Afternoon tea, the Nutcracker ballet etc. However, I didn’t this year as Mum just wasn’t up to it. I worried about what we would do and whether we’d all get a bit bored, but I needn’t have.

In preparation for their arrival, I had recorded lots of old classic movies as well as really Christmassy ones and I had bought some silly games that we could all enjoy at home – and that’s precisely what we did.

Mornings were spent chatting and listening to the radio (or wireless as Mum may occasionally refer to it) and in the afternoons we played games like dominoes. Except I bought the children’s version without realising and all the dominoes, instead of having little dots on them had pictures like dinosaurs and cars, we still played with them and laughed at how a six year old would still be better at it than us!

We also played Connect 4 and card games like Old Maid. The late afternoons and early evenings were spent sitting side by side on the sofa watching old movies, while I held dear old Mum’s hand and made her cups of tea. It was all absolutely lovely.

Mum’s health meant she couldn’t really go out much, but we definitely didn’t let it get in the way of us having a good time.

I did send my niece off to the sales one day on her own, as I knew she was dying to get into town and get some new clothes. On their final evening I raced home from work to take my niece to Winter Wonderland in town.

This is something else we do every year and she loves it (as I do, if I’m being honest) so I wanted to make sure everyone got to do something they enjoyed and got the holiday experience they hoped for. We saw all the bright lights, ate Spanish churros and hot chocolate sauce, took a million selfies and bought horseshoes and Christmas tree decorations (we have bought one every year we’ve been there, and getting these was our main reason for going again this year).

I worried about leaving Mum at home alone for a few hours, but all was fine – thank goodness. I think I have reached that stage in life where that very subtle and quiet role-reversal happens, without any warning or indication. You, as the child, start to worry about your parents; as though they were the child and you the parent.

It’s a slightly odd and extremely emotional feeling. I think I can honestly say that I have never felt as much love for my Mum as I did this Christmas when I was minding her and gently changing dressings she had on some of her wounds, or when I was simply holding her hand while we watched those old movies together. We had simple, quiet, unremarkable moments together like this that have become cherished memories that I will never forget.

Eventually though, our Christmas celebrations all had to come to an end and 30th December saw me returning to the airport to send them home again. It was an emotional but not a sad goodbye, simply because we had all had such a lovely time. Like when you have been on that holiday of a lifetime were everything has gone exactly how you would have wanted it to and – while you know you will be happy to go back home – you are sad that the amazing experience you have had has come to an end.

New Year’s Eve itself was spent at home, as it was my first day off – not to mention my first day alone for a while. I spent it quietly at home watching the fireworks across London from my balcony, as I was back at work again early the next morning.

This new year I did something I have never done before. Picking up on an idea I got from the lovely Speakmans, which they had as part of their Today’s Special Value, I decided to make a plan for my year.

As they say, you would never get in a car and drive without a plan of where you are going. More importantly, if you don’t have a plan for your own life, you can easily fall into following the plan someone else has, like your partner. That lack of planning or independence ultimately lead to a sense of dissatisfaction.

With all this in mind I made a plan. It’s not massively detailed. I wrote it as a sort of mind-map of core areas that I want to improve or work on, and from each of those broad themes I wrote some specific thoughts.

It didn’t take long at all, but I think the idea of just writing it down is a good first step in helping to realise your plans. If you have never done it, it’s definitely worth having a go. Other than that, I haven’t made any resolutions for the year ahead; other than to try and see Mum a little more, if I can.

None of us ever know what the future holds, but I wish everyone a year with more than a few moments of joy and happiness and without  the stresses of life that wear us down – or if there are, that we can find the strength to get back up again.

In a world that appears to have gone mad and be filled with so many divisive opinions, I wish us all a year that allows us to feel love, compassion and generosity in our hearts for those who need it most, and a year that leaves us feeling no regrets but rather only joy and happiness.

Until next time,

Miceal xxx

22 Comments

  1. Lucy January 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal
    What a really lovely blog,I love your honesty X

  2. Helen January 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal,
    I have not written to you before but I was moved by your words. I am sure that your mother will treasure every moment that you spent together.
    We have had a gradual reversal of roles within our family. Having been a very healthy and active mum with a full time teaching career, I found myself diagnosed with MS 13 years ago. My symptoms have obviously got worse and the wheelchair always makes an appearance at the airport! Like you my daughters take time to spend time with me, drive me to appointments, as well as meals out and afternoon tea which I love!
    You are a wonderful son and your mum must be very proud of just as I am of my girls.
    Have a wonderful 2018!

    Helen

  3. Helen January 16, 2018 at 5:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal,
    I have not written to you before but I was moved by your words. I am sure that your mother will treasure every moment that you spent together.
    We have had a gradual reversal of roles within our family. Having been a very healthy and active mum with a full time teaching career, I found myself diagnosed with MS 13 years ago. My symptoms have obviously got worse and the wheelchair always makes an appearance at the airport! Like you my daughters take time to spend time with me, drive me to appointments, as well as meals out and afternoon tea which I love!
    You are a wonderful son and your mum must be very proud of you just as I am of my girls.
    Have a wonderful 2018!

    Helen

  4. Gayle January 16, 2018 at 6:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi, I’m not good st this but I hope it goes to you directly. Just wanted to say I loved your post ant to cherish your happy times with your mum . My memories aren’t so great but I try really hard to give my daughter the memories you have, i love reading your posts, happy new to you xx

  5. Denise January 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm -  Reply

    Lovely memories for you to treasure of a happy time with your family. Sometimes we don’t have to do anything at all when we meet up with family for it to be enjoyable. Like you I’m at that stage where parents are becoming more infirm. I too find it quite emotional as I’m reminded ofthe circle of life.
    How lovely to be able to see New Year fireworks and not to have to be among all the crowds.
    Happy New Year.
    Denise

  6. Susan January 16, 2018 at 7:17 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year Miceal! You are just the most wonderful man you know. You probably don’t. I think you are bang on with all your words. You never ever are focused on yourself and I think that is very rare in your tv world. You’re so kind and I so admire your way of looking after your Mum and family so well. You’re so young to have such concerns and like Catherine I’m sure you can help each other cope. I so wish you both people who love you and look after you..who knows maybe you have that already but everything is harder on your own. Im glad you had a night off before going back to work on New Year’s Day and I wish you a little joy this year in amongst the daily grind too. Take care x

  7. Jo January 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year miceal ! The photos of you , your mum & niece are lovely, the one where you took your niece to visit winter wonderland, I can see she looks very much like you. For me sadly, Christmas went past in a flash plus cooked for a few last minute family members, who only got in touch on Christmas eve to let me know they were attending my Christmas dinner. It was enjoyable but hectic & although I cook every year since my mum passed away in 2009 there seemed little relaxation time. I enjoy watching you on Qvc & think you are an excellent presenter, keep up the good work 🙂

  8. Mrs Judith Dunster January 16, 2018 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    Happy new year xx

  9. Gill January 16, 2018 at 10:43 pm -  Reply

    Happy New year Miceal
    Really enjoyed your blog so pleased you enjoyed Christmas with your family. It’s important to spend time with and make the most of being with Your family.
    All the best.

  10. Jackie Jones January 16, 2018 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for a beautiful, moving blog. Time with your mum is so precious. I share your views on the world and your hopes for this year. Happy New Year to you and your dear family

  11. Nina Lendon January 17, 2018 at 9:51 am -  Reply

    Such a lovely refreshing story Miceal. In this crazy world of technology and social media how lovely to hear about your heart warming, traditional, family Christmas, reminiscent of days gone by and my own childhood. That’s how Christmas should be. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time and made lots of memories to cherish forever. I hope you and your lovely Mum have a very happy and healthy 2018. Lots of Love Nina xx

  12. Antoinette Browne January 17, 2018 at 6:22 pm -  Reply

    Happy New year Miceal, your blog was spot on. Your mum must be so proud of you. I enjoyed reading it. What lovely comments. True to every word. Keep the good work. Best wishes. Antoinette

  13. Elizabeth McCarrison January 17, 2018 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Enjoyed your blog hope you all had a relaxing time Happy New Year to you Micealx

  14. Shirley Symonds January 18, 2018 at 4:22 pm -  Reply

    Firstly Happy New Year Miceal I always read your blogs because I think you are such a genuine person and I love the way you write of your mum she is very lucky to have a son like you to look after her
    Your Christmas sounds very traditional the way it should be I believe these are the best ones to make lots of memories with loved ones

  15. Allison Devlin January 18, 2018 at 6:36 pm -  Reply

    Bless you. I’m in tears. I know how you feel. All the best young man. X

  16. Margaret Shankster January 19, 2018 at 2:47 pm -  Reply

    Oh I was so touched by your lovely blog and was sop leased you had lots of precious time with your mum,it proves that the simple things mean the most,I treasure the times I had with my mum.Happy New Year to you,Margaret.

  17. Amanda mulligan January 19, 2018 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

    Ahh your blog was so true Miceal and I did texacyly the same as you with my Mam coming from Dublin. I also dropped her off on the 30th back home but had a lovely break with her pottering around over the Christmas period. It’s difficult as they get older but as long as they keep flying we can still treat them ?

  18. Sarah January 21, 2018 at 9:52 am -  Reply

    Hello.
    What a lovely blog this week. So warmly written, I felt quite emotional reading it. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2018. x

  19. ann cain January 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    I have never wrote on your page before.I wish I still had both my mom and dad,You are a very lovely man and I bet your mom is so proud of you.Happy new year to you and your family.xx

  20. Nicole January 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm -  Reply

    I feel so overwhelmed by your wonderful blog. I lost my best friend – my wonderful mum to dementia on December 1st 2016. This Christmas was the first anniversary and it was a very quiet time – most remembering my mum. I tried desperately to provide a happy time for our twin boys as the previous year I spent in a void of grief. We enjoyed a family day and it was lovely. I miss my mum terribly but we were the best of friends – even with the dreaded dementia….. I her carer but alaways her loving daughter. I wish you all the love possible in caring for your Mum and creating as many happy memories as possible.

  21. Andrew Stevenson February 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm -  Reply

    Wow this was such a moving blog about your mum and everything your doing hope this year goes good for her

  22. Elizabeth keenan February 5, 2018 at 10:47 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Miceal
    Lovely blog as usual.
    Very emotional reading it, glad you had a lovely time with your Mum and Niece, the pictures showed how much of a great time they were having with you.
    Health and happiness for 2018.
    Much love
    Elizabeth ?

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