Because it is past…. As Boxing Day draws to a quiet close by the fire with a new movie on the Television and a five-year old on my lap, I feel the festive season gently walk out of the room. The cards which delighted when they came through the post suddenly look cluttered and careless perched on the mantelpiece. The tree which has twinkled in my eyes night after night suddenly looks cumbersome and clumsy in the corner and desire to put it back in the box is compelling.
Christmas – once my favourite time of the year is closing for another season.
This year, it was hard, there is no other way to describe it, and no real jokes to go with this piece. Paradoxically if you ask me, if you look me in the eye, I will tell you it was fine, because in verbal terms it is hard to articulate the last couple of days. I feel almost ridiculous verbally trying to explain, ashamed of my emotions. I don’t really want to talk about this stuff, but, and I am aware of the sense of irony, I turn to this place, my spot on the internet, to tell all to those who take the time to read.
I have been ready for Christmas all month and have lived in the season, my weekend with children have been dedicated to carols, concerts, family time. Evenings have been spent alone, wrapping gifts with a glass of wine, scribbling names on Christmas cards, cursing when I forgot for a moment and wrote a name that doesn’t live here anymore.
Christmas is a time for family, and mine is still splintered and at times the sticking tape I try to use to bind us together doesn’t seem to do its job.
This year, my separated spouse and I did as we did last, we spent it together, for the children, our beautiful three.
It was harder.
It wasn’t hard because we argued, it wasn’t tough because waves of hate floated over the turkey and through the stuffing balls.
It wasn’t tricky because we barely spoke.
In fact it was the opposite of all.
Two days as a whole unit served as stark reminder of how I wanted my life to be, how I intended to raise my trio, it was like a mirror into my past, when times were happier, when Christmas was a joy.
It meant that most of the day was spent struggling to catch my breath as we smiled, played, laughed over the undercurrent of sadness.
For two days I had my world back, I got to chat with a grown up as the children slept, cook food for five, not just me and three children. I had someone else to share the diabetic night checks, someone else to share the worry of Owen’s upcoming operation. Someone to share the wine, eat the cheese, play with the kids. Someone who found their jokes as hilarious as I do, who enjoyed every second of them opening their presents, someone who helped create my three most precious things.
It was two days that merely gave me a glimpse of how my life was once and how I wish it could be. Paradoxically once more, I know I can’t have it, my marriage failed for a whole host of reasons, but the regret that it did has not gone away.
I don’t want to be single forever but struggle to see how anyone new slips into my life, I dislike being a solo parent, I’m not one for doing this job alone.
I didn’t sign up for this.
The kids had an exceptional Christmas, they loved every second, a highlight being Mum and Dad together, for a brief spell of time.
I am big enough to do it next year again?
I don’t know, the sadness that has engulfed me since feels like it is here to stay for a while and I think I need to force myself to fight it. The black cloud that sometimes lingers in my soul is settling in, the mockery of not having what I wanted angers and embraces me.
I end a year longing again for a time that has passed, for a future I don’t think I will achieve.
It was right to do, despite how tough it felt. I will remember it as a day of fun, giggles, and laughing that masked over the tears that fell at nightfall. The photos on social media make it look like we had a great time. Which is true, in so many respects. And in those moments when my smile threatened to fail, like so many others on Christmas day, I covered it with a beer mat…
The kids will recall a great Christmas, and that is what counts.
To all who have read our stories this year, I hope you have enjoyed, to those who used to come here for funny and are met with gloom, I apologise and hope to do better next year.
Thank you for reading, hope your Christmas was magical and you have a great start to the New Year.