My real hero this Christmas

My sister went off this morning without whingeing or crying or making a fuss. She didn’t kick and scream while I put on her socks or did her hair. She didn’t even moan about having to leave her two small kids and dog in our care while she went off to spend a calm day in the company of adults…

My sister’s at work today. Boxing Day. It’s not a mummy day. Not for her. While we eat left over turkey, miniature heroes and dried fruit in all its known forms, she’ll be, err, you know… saving lives. That kinda thing.


She’s a doctor, my twin. Which I’ve always found highly useful. Psychologically as well as anatomically and paediatrically.

I remember a big family holiday with multiple ageing relatives in the middle of noooooo-where in France. In a barn. The grandparent generation had beds, my parents generation had sofas and me and my cousins camped in the damp and slopey field outside. Amazing. But it was half way into the second day when my sister had been continuously dealing with opportune questions about gouty feet, achey fingers and dodgy tickers that our location in the middle of nooo-where in rural France, and the associated first aid responsibilities for several hyperactive (and more than a little tipsy) octogenarians hit home.

So she married a doctor. And now we have a brilliant direct emergency helpline for when one of the kids eats a tempting but unidentified berry, or reaches a new height of temperature.

But it’s psychologically that it’s really helped me. There’s nothing like having a sibling in the medical profession for a bit of context. I first got it one morning early in my career. I’d spent much of the morning photocopying and was terribly ‘stressed’. So I rang my sister. And found out that, at 8am, she’d been giving CPR to a man with a beard, under the influence of too much sherry on a tube platform (no it wasn’t Santa).
Hmmnn. Suddenly my photocopying dramas didn’t seem quite so important. Or stressful.

Fast forward a ‘few’ years and I’m [jokingly] moaning to my work mates about how my sister and brother in law sodding off to work was really going to spoil my Christmas feng shui and relaxation. I was joking. Honest. But really this feels like a second photocopier moment (not that photocopier moment). I can’t really moan about missing the first day of school holidays when my mini hero sis has had to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. With a smile on her face.

So let’s enjoy it. The 5am start with the stocking, the fighting over number of presents and arbitrarily imposed restrictions on mini heroes, the unending washing up, the fighting over new toys, the falling into a lake on the Boxing Day family walk (this has happened to at least one of my children for the last two years).

Let’s enjoy it all, as we could be at work.


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