Husband’s disappearing act has left me with all the lists

Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Will Ferrell as Brad Taggart and John Lithgow as Don Taggart in Daddy's Home 2. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Claire Fogler.

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I am quite convinced that my husband schedules his work existence around the school holidays.

For many years he’s flown off around Halloween for various conferences, leaving me to deal with the door-knockers.

When he finally comes home I fear he will not be able to find me, unless I leave a list of places that I could be hiding

Now he’s developing his disappearing act for pre-Christmas. This year he’s outdone himself and disappeared for nigh-on three weeks. And it was me who had to write a list of things he needed to take. How does that work?

When he first mentioned this trip to me as something to consider, I thought it would be beneficial for him. New experiences, new contacts, a wider understanding and all that.

But what I didn’t think about was the toll there’d be on me. I’ve been left to deal with other lists – the Christmas ones – on my own.

Over the years I’ve struggled with the notion of Christmas lists, balancing expressions of love against determined commerciality. Does buying everything on a list tell my children how much I love them? Or does buying something else, that I truly believe is perfect for them, mean I love them more?

But however I feel about them, lists have become a staple in the house. You know, for when rellies ask, and for when my brain is fried by all the three-for-two offers, and making sure everything is equal and fair and all of that stuff.

And of course, with my husband out of the country, it’s me who has to look at the lists, manage the process, say enough is enough and no you can’t change your mind ever again because actually, even though we all know that Santa requires help, and even though it’s unlikely I have done anything about it yet, I cannot in any way cope with a moveable feast.

That one CD is set in my brain and asking for something different right now will simply mess with my mojo.

Then there’s the list of Christmas cards I should – but probably never will – send. The list of food, and who is bringing what. The list of parties we’ve been invited to. The list of timings for how long each of the meats will need to marinade, and the list of veg I need to buy.

When he finally comes home I fear he will not be able to find me, unless I leave a list of places that I could be hiding.