I spent the worst Christmas Day of my life nine years ago. I had split from my ex-husband a couple of months prior, and we’d decided to have our children alternate Christmas Days. He chose to have them on CD first. It was quiet—horribly so. No kids on CD when you’re used to having them there? Evil. They were 3, 6, 9 and 10, so you can imagine the loss of such excited children.
I spent all day moping, crying every so often, and pretending everything was all right on the outside. But inside I felt hollow, like four pieces of me were missing. I told myself that it would be all right, that I would have my CD the next day and pretend it really was CD. The children were supposed to be dropped off between 8 and 9 a.m. They were brought home around noon.
I will never forget that selfish act and also that I could have been awkward and told him I was having them that first Christmas. You know, dug my heels in and said I was their mother, blah blah blah. But I didn’t make a fuss, just let him have them, and that’s how I was repaid.
Similar things have occurred each Christmas. They were late being picked up on CD once, and sat waiting for him, not opening our presents because they were to be opened the next day. But we let them have one each in the end, because shoot, those kids knew everyone else on the planet was ripping open gifts and having fun. And there they sat in their coats, their overnight bags by their feet, waiting and waiting.
As the years have gone by, the rules have changed due to ex having another child who was born on CD. To save our children traipsing about from house to house as they celebrated his daughter’s birthday and not Christmas, they remain at home and go to him on the following day. It’s where they’ve said they want to be, and despite the differences between us, myself and my ex have always said what the kids want comes first. So they choose many times now to stay at home when it’s their weekend to go to him, and so long as that’s what they want, then we’re all happy.
But that first time without them… I’ll never forget how I felt inside. I often wonder how it affected them too. Christmas is forever tainted for me now. I dislike it so much I wish I could just crawl into a ball and wait for it to go away. Oh, I pretend I'm digging it, but inside I'm not. I feel the Christmas spirit has been ripped away, tainted, and despite telling myself it's okay now, that they spend CD with us, and that I should be happy about that, the feeling is in my subconscious, spoiling every year.
Please share your Christmas memories with me. Happy, sad, it doesn’t matter. And if you comment, you can win any of my books in any of my pen names.
Also, don't forget to pop back later to check the Winners Announcement post for last week's prize winners!