Do you remember that Andy Williams song? I can't remember what it's called, but it's on one of the Christmas albums, probably from the 70s. My mother used to play the Andy Williams albums while she was decorating the house for Christmas, and we used to watch all of the Christmas specials. I think he's got a regular show in Branson. I should try to go see him before he dies. Anyway, this phrase is on my mind for a number of reasons, mostly because Christmas carols are playing all around me, and that inevitably triggers my Andy Williams Christmas memories. And this song always pops into my head. But truthfully, this ISN'T the most wonderful time of the year for me. At least not any more.
My kids are still little, so I still get to you enjoy the marvel and magic of the season through my children's eyes, and for that I am grateful. It definitely makes me warm and fuzzy, and I can physically feel my heart warm up. But this is a hard time of year for me when I am away from my children and alone with my thoughts. The Ex and I split six years ago now, and I've recovered from just about everything ... except the holidays. I don't decorate the house like I used to because I am just too tired to do it all myself, especially working full-time and having the children at least 80% of the time. It's a lot of work! I went from real trees to an artificial tree because it is too hard for me to go get a real tree, get it home and put it up ... by myself. We haven't had lights on the outside of our house in six years. I don't bake like I used to because there is no one around to eat it. I still decorate, just not as much. I still put up a tree. I still bake and decorate cookies. I've done my best ... I even go so far as to invite him and his son from his first marriage to my home on Christmas morning to watch the children open their presents from Santa. He accepts my invitation each year... except the one year he had a live-in girlfriend and I told him she was not invited.
It's during this time of year that my residual anger about my divorce resurfaces. I blame the Ex that our children do not have the kinds of Christmases I had as a kid. I blame the Ex that we don't have a bunch of "family" celebrations and parties. I blame the Ex that I don't look forward to Christmas morning anymore. I blame the Ex that I am left alone on Christmas Day. Though I have my children on Christmas morning - something most divorced parents do not have on alternating years - I don't get to relax and enjoy it. Instead, I have to be ready to receive as a guest the one person who makes me the most uncomfortable and the two people who hold my kids' interest more than I do. I have to sit and watch as my children forget that I am there because they are so thrilled to see their daddy and their big brother. I barely have time to help get their toys out of the twist ties and screws before they are getting dressed and heading off with daddy to his family's celebration, and they don't even say goodbye. And then I am left all alone with a mess and my thoughts.
This year I've decided to take back my Christmas morning. I expressly told him he is not invited to come over for Santa presents. He didn't question it because he thinks he knows why I've done it. He doesn't. I want to lounge around in my pajamas, drinking coffee and watching my kids open their presents. I want to have a pleasant breakfast. I want to have them show me how everything works. In short, I want to feel INCLUDED in Christmas morning. Is it selfish? Probably. But I've been a Christmas martyr for six years now. He stooped to having the kids ask me if he could come over so I was truthful with them. I told them I feel left out when daddy is there because they forget about me and it makes me sad. Sweetie asked me if am "jealous" of daddy. I don't think "jealous" is the right word, but maybe it is. But I told him I AM jealous because I love them so much and I want to have fun with them on Christmas morning. The Ex will come and take them at 11:00 as he does every year. They will spend the day with their daddy, their brother, their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins as they do every year. He will keep them for however many days he wants to keep them after Christmas, as he does every year. They will be with him when the new year starts, as they are every year.
I'm determined to get my "most wonderful time of the year" back!