Dave brought it home in the back of his ute a few weeks ago, triumphantly.
"I won the bet! Here she is!"
I looked at it and shook my head. "No WAY. You did NOT win the bet. The bet was you make a Christmas tree."
"I made it - I chopped it down. You owe me five hundred bucks."
"Bullshit mate. You owe me five hundred."
The stalemate has continued ... in the meantime, we both didn't know that you are supposed to actually water a real tree. We haven't, and it has been hot. (Oh glorious sun how I love thee!)
So now, all the freaking baubles are dropping off the tree, one by one. All of it's branches are visibly withering and shrinking.
"Mum, there goes another one!" Max calls to me, daily.
There is hardly anything left on the tree, now. But, I still turn the lights on it every night, and they sparkle and shine and you can't notice how crap it actually looks.
Last night, we went over for a BBQ at our friends house. It was so strange, being actually out at that time of night. Socialising. They are some of our closest friends, and when I got there I gave them some Christmas hampers and cried, and told them how much I have missed them this year and I'm sorry but we have all been at home hiding away from the world. They cried with me. And then we stopped crying, (because there always comes a time when you eventually stop crying, take a deep breath and go, well. Let's just get on with it then, shall we?) .. and we had a great night.
I made two of these little beauties ......
Dave had giving him a rib to gnaw on.
Because, you know .... we are the FLINTSTONES, after all.
During dinner, the conversation got around to Dave, and how he got diagnosed with that wonderful stage three non-hodgkins lymphoma, right before we had the baby. Suddenly, all other conversation stopped, and people turned to us, itching to know what it was like. And I was itching to tell them. It's easier, now .. to talk about it. But when it was all happening, and I got accosted everywhere I went, my GOD I got so cranky with people and their stupid comments and intrusive questions.
But, these were our friends ... genuinely concerned and gobsmacked by exactly what happened, how we found out, what we were thinking and feeling. It was a relief, to talk about it. Dave and I kept talking over each other, rushing our words.
"We thought it was his appendix ... "
"I really thought I was finally getting abs for the first time ..."
" ...but it wasn't abs, it was his cancerous tumours poking through his belly."
Then we all started cracking cancer jokes, and I sighed and realised how much I have missed my friends.
We ended the night playing celebrity head. Of course I was Bono, and Maxie was his hero, Crash Bandicoot. (Note to self ... wear makeup when out. You are on the wrong side of thirty-five.)
Someone put Dave as being Anthony Robbins. He had no freaking clue, so we started giving him insane hints to help him. Finally, I put on the biggest, booming American accent and made big sweeping gestures with my hands. "C'mon! You can do it! It's all in how you think! If you think it and believe it, anything is possible. Yeahhhhhh!!!"
He guessed it straight away.
I kept looking over at him, sitting in his chair with his silly bit of paper stuck to his head. I thought about how this year he would turn off all the lights and just watch TV in the dark. Not wanting to talk to anyone, just a guy lost in Chemoland, wondering how the hell he had got there.
Oh my God it already is the best Christmas ever.