A Year of Ups and Downs But Counting My Blessings

PUBLISHED: 09:38 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

It s hard to believe that we are almost at the end of another year. For me, like most people I guess, it has had its ups and downs. My youngest and my eldest sons went off travelling in the spring and are both currently in Australia. When they were little

It's hard to believe that we are almost at the end of another year. For me, like most people I guess, it has had its ups and downs. My youngest and my eldest sons went off travelling in the spring and are both currently in Australia. When they were little and dashing nosily about the house, and through all the trials and tribulations of bringing them up alone, I often longed for some peace and quiet. Just to have a bath in peace without hearing them somewhere in the house arguing about the result of a football match, or crashing about in the kitchen preparing a snack wondering what sort of mess I was likely to discover later. When they were toddlers I picked them up when they fell down, and then 17 years later I did the same thing when they fell down after drinking to much alcohol (they were, of course, much heavier and far less grateful!). Now the house is free from their clutter (apart from all the boxes of stuff in the spare room that they have left behind and asked me to take care of) and the constant background noise I would gladly swap the peace and quiet for some chaos. I miss them dreadfully and it will be hard this Christmas to think about them sitting on a beach somewhere and not here with me going through all those yearly rituals that make this time of year so special.

As regular readers will know, my mum was poorly as the beginning of the year, but on Saturday she and my dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a special day. My mum and dad set me, and my brothers and sister the most perfect example of family life. They are loving and giving and totally unselfish and I count myself very lucky to be part of such a close and loving family.

My sister Lesley and I organised a family meal on Saturday night and my youngest brother Nick and his fiancée Amanda flew over from Ireland. Amanda announced that she was pregnant; my niece Karen and her boyfriend Steve recently got engaged as did my son Aaron and his girlfriend Louise. So as we sat around the table on Saturday night I really did count my blessings. My mum and dad sitting together looking happy and radiant, two family weddings to look forward to, a baby on the way and my beautiful sister, who I consider to be my best friend, by my side.

Whatever the past has dealt us and whatever the future holds, we do have to count our blessings don't we? The world around us is full of misery, poverty, war and greed, so the little world we create for ourselves should be full of love, appreciation and respect for each other and I am very lucky to have that.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers and advertisers a very happy Christmas. I would also like to thank, once again, all the people who took the time, and still take the time, to ask after my mum, especially Sarah and Mark Fairhurst. I hope from the bottom of my heart that 2009 is a good year for Liam Fairhurst and Joshua Hinchliffe and anyone else out there who is poorly, unhappy or going through a rough time.

Merry Christmas and a happy 2009 to each and every one of you.

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