There are a myriad of words that could complete the sentence of my headline title but none would come close to the landscape of chaos and unpredictability that is beyond description when your children return home for Christmas.

In the run up to Christmas which starts in September/October/November – delete as appropriate depending on which supermarket you shop at – you simply cannot wait for their return. Yes, you cried when they left home, missed them desperately, got on with life and, suddenly, it’s the festive season which heralds their return and you cannot wait. Time is taken up with planning all the things that you want to do with them when they return.

Finally, they turn up and within hours you feel as if a tornado has struck. They want your attention (daughter pulling at my jumper on the left). They are irked that you have taken up a corner of their room with your junk. Your plans for Christmas are ‘old fashioned’ and they want to change everything. The family dinner you planned on the night of their return is junked because they have made other plans. You lie awake worrying and wondering whether they are safe till they crash home in the early hours. Next morning they question your energy levels insinuating that you are some old person and all this because you are shattered from worrying over whether they were safe.

Kids. Who will have them? You and me in all honesty. Merry Christmas, kids and all.