And so it begins. Christmas. Seeing mince pies on the shelves of a certain food store on the first day of September told me all I needed to know. Deep breath, armour on and here we go. I used to love the build up to the twenty fifth. Loved the twinkliness, the cosiness, the ‘family’ stuff. Now, all that family stuff is simply a source of stress, stress and more stress. How the hell do other separated/divorced families manage?
Half way through September and I already have a sizeable knot in my tummy as discussions of Christmas begin. That’s a polite way of putting the tense, heated talks taking place about where the children should be, whose ‘turn’ it is and other hideous phrases.
It’s only September, it’s only September I keep whispering to myself, no need to worry – everything will work out. And is it really so terrible if I’m not with one or all of my children on that most highly charged day of the year? I’ll survive, I tell myself – and so will they.
The selfish, knackered part of me loves the idea of having Christmas ‘off’. To be free of the immense pressure that it inevitably brings and instead be able to spend it alone, in my jim jams, eating a ready meal for one and working my way through a tin of Quality Streets or Celebrations with full access to the remote control . That’s just a small part of me though. The rest of me wants the whole works. The whole tinsel covered shebang. Including the partner to share it with. It’s hard to accept that the happy family Christmases I imagined and briefly experienced a few years back won’t ever be the same again.
Please forgive me for raising the subject so ridiculously early. I’m just letting myself vent now on the condition that I don’t think or talk about it again until the last sparkler has fizzled out on the damp days that follow November 5th. We’ll get though Hallowe’en and bonfire night and then somehow, I’ll attempt to get my head round planning an alternative Christmas for me and my four. It might be a week or so behind everyone elses but we’ll make it a good one. And on the big day itself? Well, wherever I am and whoever I’m with I’ll count my blessings, pull a cracker and thank god for Skype.