Friday, December 25, 2009

If Only Life Were Simple

So I survived my second Christmas as a single parent.  It was touch and go, but I made it.  Hurrah for me.

Christmas Eve started badly and got steadily worse.  There were two contributing factors.

The first being that someone seemed to have stolen my happy-go-lucky Johnny Drama overnight and replaced him with the Grinch. After one hour of his company I would have quite happily sold him to resident drug dealers without as much as a second thought or a backward glance.  He didn't want to do anything.  He didn't want to go anywhere.  We went to see friends and he was so badly behaved that I was torn between racing home to stamp all his presents to smithereens and just wrapping myself in cling film from the neck up to put an end to my misery.  How we both survived the day intact is a true Christmas miracle.

The second factor was the discovery that ex was not in fact coming to the house, as planned for weeks, to put the boys to bed.  Instead he'd made alternative plans to go to a party in the suburbs.  I could barely speak for rage when he told me.  I was all the more upset because I had just handed over my Christmas card...where I had stupidly expressed my ongoing love and sadness that we weren't still together.  It was all I could do to not rip the card out of his back pocket and shred it into tiny little pieces and then shove them down his throat and choke him with it.  Love you?  I fumed internally.  Love you?  I fucking hate you, you selfish little prick of a man.

But behind all the rage of course was the true emotion.  I was simply hurt that he didn't want to share that moment with me.  That he had prioritised a party over his sons.  That there was yet more proof just before Christmas that we just weren't enough for him any more.  The sting of rejection.  More deadly than a scorpion's tail.

Finally bedtime rolled around (cue massive bloody sigh of relief) and I sat on the sofa - same as every other night - alone save for the company of a bottle of red and a vast quantity of chocolate.  I ate and drank myself into a self-pitying stupor watching for the umpteenth time, of all things, the film Love Actually.  There ought to be a law against me watching this film, stranded in Chicago, on Christmas Eve of all nights.  I really should have known better.  How did Richard Curtis manage to get London looking so beautiful in every single scene?  The man is a cinematic genius.  I don't remember it ever looking like that in real life, although of course it's now been so long since I have had a Christmas at home that now I am convinced the film is a true reflection of London, which left me feeling more homesick and meloncholy than ever.

I went to bed incredibly sad and dreading the day ahead.  I dutifully binned the cookies the boys had left out for Santa, save a few crumbs, chewed a piece of carrot intended for the reindeer and drank the, now luke warm and particularly disgusting, snowman mug of milk.  I dreamed of using ex's head as a punching bag and had vivid, wild thoughts of how I was going to ultimately destroy him like I feel he has destroyed me.

I woke up at 4.30am and couldn't for the life of me get back to sleep.  Bad thoughts returned.  I tried meditating on fluffy kittens and adorable puppies to calm my vengeful inner harridan, but my vengeful harridan had other ideas and simply drowned them all in a big sack filled with bricks.  HO! HO! HO!  Merry Christmas everyone!

I was finally startled out of my introspective gloom by the sound of a huge crash from downstairs, which could only signal the premature demise of the Christmas tree and possibly several hundred dollars worth of 'Santa Gifts'.  I crept down the stairs, expecting to see a disaster area of magnificent proportions, but the tree was, miraculously, still standing and nothing seemed out of place.  The cats looked at me innocently.  I glared back at them...yeah, I have your number, I thought spitefully.  You might not be kittens any longer but you're not too old to be shoved into sacks you know...

I sneaked out the back for a calming cigarette and when I came back into the kitchen a sleepy Johnny Drama was standing there, silently watching me.  His face was aglow.  He spoke in a whisper.  'Mummy, Santa has eaten the cookies!  Come see!  And there are footprints!  And...and...and...presents! See!  I was good after all.  Come see!  Come see with me!  Now!'

I marvelled at the cookie crumbs, nibbled carrot and half drunk milk.  I expressed true surprise at the huge sacks of presents, filled to the brim, for both boys.  And I hugged him tight, relieved that my innocent, happy child had returned.  Within minutes Captain Underpants crept down the stairs and they both continued to gaze in wonder at the true evidence of Santa's existence, both of them visibly relieved that my threats over the last few days of being on call to Santa to tell him of every misdemeanor, hadn't resulted in him passing them by.

Ex turned up just before 8am.  By this time I felt calmer, almost pragmatic.  I didn't want anything to spoil the day and we hugged and kissed warmly, before turning to supervise the instant surge of present carnage.

We (ie. the boys) opened presents, we (ie. the adults) ate breakfast, we (ie. the boys) opened yet more presents, I cooked lunch, we (ie. the adults) ate lunch and then we went to the cinema to watch Alvin and The Chipmunks The Squeakual.  It was a lovely, lovely day.  We were the perfect, perfect family.

If only life were simple.  If only ex still loved me as a wife and not just as a co-parent.

If only.

Life could be so....well, not perfect.  But certainly better than this.

And now I am back on the sofa - alone again save for two pesky cats, who appear to be quite confident that they could write a much more entertaining post than this one judging by their persistance in attacking the keyboard at every key stroke.  But I survived another Christmas intact.  And for that I am truly and honestly grateful.


  1. I think Johnny Drama's pre-Christmas behaviour was nerves, that he hadn't been good enough to get a visit from Santa.

    I think you do a great job in holding it all together. Hurrah for you, as you say.

  2. Well done for surviving another single-parent Christmas. I think it's worth remembering that at times like this (Christmas, birthdays, etc) it's easy to get nostalgic about the ex and dream about being a family again. It's made easier when you only see an edited version (the nice version) of the ex, making him seem like such a nice guy. Then they tell you something (like the party in the suburbs) that makes you realise why they are the ex.

    I'm sorry this was a bittersweet time for you; I just hope the enjoyment of your boys on Christmas morning made up for the behaviour of your ex.

    Merry Christmas, I hope the new year brings you much deserved happiness. x (p.s. I'm hoping for some sex myself).

  3. What a difficult time - well done for coming out the other side in one piece. I've been thinking of you, wondering how you were doing - so pleased that Christmas Day itself was magical. Shame about the day before though. Big hugs and here's to an amazing 2010. x x

  4. Oh poo! I wish I was there to take you out for a meal and wine - although I'd be coughing all over you so you probably don't wish that! We'll just do it when I get back.

  5. the way you described johnny drama's words is matchless.

  6. oh my god, thank god you wrote that, I'm so sick of christmas b*ll*cking sh*t, I've had a great time this year in spite of everything...single parent xmas can be cr*p! well done you for penning this, it's what everyone else wants to say and not exactly what everyone else would write so cheers to you xx

  7. I think Hugh-Grant-as-British-PM should be banned but, yes, that film makes me weep and weep. Just the scenes of people being met at the airport is enough to do it for me.

    I'm glad you were able to recover your Christmas spirit. Maybe sneak into the ex's house at a later date and rip that card up, okay?

  8. Well done you - I know those feelings so well and it's all v painful - you did a very good job of letting your kids have a wonderful day Lx

  9. You have done so well. In 2010 I reckon you should get swept off your feet by someone extremely fanciable and fabulous. It would only be fair. Hugs. Christmas is so bloody hard in some ways isn't it? x

  10. Iota - Yes, it appears nerves and over-excitement is not a good combination where JD is concerned. The cellotape is a bit frayed with the strain of holding it all together but at least it is not totally unstuck. Yet.

    NotSupermum - I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you on the sex front too!

    Fraught Mummy - Thank you!!! Yes, well 2010 has got to be a better year, surely. Lots to tackle that I have successfully managed to avoid for the past 12 months. Not looking forward to it but have to face it some time.

    Expat - oh you poor thing. Look forward to seeing you (minus cough) when you get back x

    Justsomethoughts - awww, that's nice. Yes, he does have the ability to express himself in the cutest 4 year old way.

    Nixdminx - and cheers to you too! It's nice when some else really 'gets' it.

    NDM - good idea on the card front. what was I thinking? vulnerability and unrequited love. ugh. destruction and mutiliation on a grand scale is much more satisfying.

    family affairs - Glad your Xmas was good too. Love the resolutions by the way!

    Jo - hello gorgeous. Well done to you too. I just hope this extremely fanciable and gorgeous guy lives in the UK...that's all I need to get swept off my feet in Chicago! xxx

  11. I love the way you write. I only wish you lived close enough for us to share a bottle of wine and a chat together. Happy Christmas and well done for surviving it. xx

  12. I've just been catching up in a backwards way.
    The 'sting of rejection' is a killer isn't it. :0(