D Is For December. And Divorce.

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Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year is get through December. December has been a massive huge bully who has punched me in the face, thrown me on the floor, kicked me a few times and then sang Christmas Carols over me. Bloody Christmas Carols.

I was led to believe that Divorce was one of those incremental things. One that started off painful and then got easier and easier as each day went along. So imagine my surprise when I realise that this isn’t the case at all. Divorce is not like a broken leg that gets strapped up in a fun plaster cast for everyone to sign until it gets taken off six weeks later when all is fixed. Sometimes, like in your first December as a single person, Divorce feels much worse.

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I blame Christmas. So much of Christmas is geared towards family (Sainsbury’s ad I’m looking at YOU, you big emotional bastard) and every single family having festive fun in every single media outlet seems to be headed up by a mum and a dad. Which is annoying, because statistically a quarter of British families are single parented. Take that, insensitive ad people. Take that and show us some non-standard families.

Knowing that doesn’t make it any better though. I still feel sad and lonely that this is the first Christmas in ten that I’ve spent as a single person, and that my children are going to spend the period with only half of their parents; though I did offer my ex the option of kipping on the sofa on Christmas eve so he could see them open their presents. I’m surprised he declined, if only because I always make an epic smoked salmon breakfast on the morning of the 25th.

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Anyway, this December has been filled with quite a lot of sadness. It’s been hard to realise old traditions won’t happen any more… the family Sunday afternoon buying then decorating the tree followed by a roast dinner: gone forever. That one was tough, despite remembering the last time we did this as a family it wasn’t particularly happy. Then there was going to Elfie’s nativity separately. Doing the festive food shop alone. Writing only 50% of the Christmas cards I usually send. Buying all the children’s presents on my own (but funnily enough, not spending any less money on them…).

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I’ve been determined to push through this though, and start new traditions for the three of us to carry forward. I bloody went and bought my own six foot tree, carried it to my car, wedged it between the two car seats then dragged it into the house at the other end. It might have felt sad (and sodding heavy) but I decorated it on my own and it looks ACE. No traditional roast, we ate sausages afterwards. I built a gingerbread house with Elfie and then demolished half of it on the sofa a couple of afternoons later. Making mulled wine because I like the way it makes the house smell. Crafting Christmas cards and signing them all ‘E’ (though enough bloody glitter, please. I have glitter in places you never want glitter). Going ice skating. Spending ages wandering through the decorations at the shopping centre.

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It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Divorce is such a long process. I thought once the first six months, nine months were over that it would be easier. But it’s a process of grieving; I’m mourning a life I expected to lead that will never happen and even though I’m almost a year into this single person thing it’s OK to feel sad about it. As time goes on it will stop being sad, it’ll just be different. And finally it will stop being different, it’ll just be normal. But until that time comes I will eat my weight in goose fat potatoes and stilton, neck my mulled wine and work out what makes our new Christmases merry.

 

32 thoughts on “D Is For December. And Divorce.

  1. Awww, Alice, it sounds to me like you’ve done a wonderful job getting through what must have been a tough month. I hope you have a lovely Christmas and things get easier soon. xx

  2. Sounds like you’re creating new traditions this year that you and your children will remember fondly in years to come, just as the other ones. And enjoy that epic smoked salmon breakfast – more to go round, it’s all good :) Happy Christmas to you all x

  3. I can’t imagine a better way to move through this than starting your own traditions with Elfie and Hux. 2014 has such potential for all three of you, but of course it takes time – fresh starts sound quick but are anything but. Just think about this time next year and all the things that are going to happen that you haven’t even guessed at yet. You’ve been brilliant, and you’ll keep on being brilliant – and when you don’t feel that way, then they’ll be brilliant on your behalf (it’s a permanent condition in their case, I’m afraid).

    Hugs x

  4. aw alice you are doing a wonderful job. i divorced my first husband 10 years ago now and yes it does get easier. don’t put yourself under the pressure of when this will happen though, one it just happens x happy christmas to you and yours x

  5. I can imagine that that “first” Christmas is REALLY weird when you become a single parent. Though it sounds like it hasn’t been easy, I love your determination and that you are starting new traditions on your own (your Gingerbread house is ACE!). Onwards and upwards, wishing you even more strength and also happiness for 2014.

    M x

  6. Thinking of you, it can’t be easy. I love that you have come up with your own, new traditions, it will do you all so much good. It looks like you’ve been having a lot of fun already, I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.

  7. You make a really good point about the ads. It would be great to see a creative take on the happy family Christmas thing from the big grocers especially.
    I think it will get better as your kids get older. Mine wouldn’t let me near the tree this year, and they have made their own wrapping paper, cards, and even helped with the Christmas baking and dinner recipe prep. So you will make lovely new traditions between you.
    Hugs for you though – I’d kip on your sofa for that breakfast!

  8. It’s my first year as well. I’m trying to downplay it a bit but I know I’m going to have an emotional day. I just keep on thinking that things will fall into place and things will get better.

    I admire your strength. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

  9. You really shouldn’t have had children in the first place if your main focus is always going to be you. Selfish people are bad enough, but crapping all over your kids’ lives because you’re a mess is unforgivable.

    • Thanks for your input Johanna, but I can assure you my main focus is very rarely me but always my children. Unfortunately my crystal ball was broken on the day I asked if I’d ever get divorced, but if you were a regular reader of my blog you’d know just how much more happier and fulfilled their lives are since my husband and I separated. This post is mainly about me, yes, but only because I’m the one feeling the loss of my relationship at Christmas time. They are both as happy as can be, thanks very much.

    • Johanna

      I agree with you, selfish people are bad enough, but even worse are people who make judgments about other peoples lives without knowing (and let’s face it few of us really know) the full story. Then even worse are those people who would rather place stuff, that they know is going to hurt (even when it may not be true) down in a public space and best of all lets do it at a time like Christmas. Good will to all men.

    • Johanna – I’d love to know what your find so selfish about this post? Is it the fact that Alice is making it work as a single parent as beautiful as she made it work as a couple? Perhaps you actually believe that women stop being individuals once they have children?
      There is nothing about this post that screams ‘me me me’ other than your own comment.

  10. Aww what a beautiful post. I completely agree, I am not divorced but it definitely makes sense for the advertising world to show the world we live in a more realistic light. Families come in all different shapes and sizes each and everyone is just as important and special as the others. I think it takes a lot of courage to realise that the best way for all of you to be happiest is to be apart. I also think it’s important to take time to acknowledge your loss but cause that’s exactly what it is and if children are feeling sad it helps them realise it’s OK.
    I hope you all have a lovely Christmas a enjoy starting new traditions. Merry Christmas to you all. X

  11. I agree about the adverts completely, it would be nice for advertisers to show some other types of families at Christmas time. I can only imagine how hard December this year is for you. But take it from a divorced kid, your children will be way happier than having to have an unhappy or forced Christmas. And I hope in time you will be too Alice. Merry Christmas to you and your gorgeous little family. Maybe 2014 will be the year we finally meet for that coffee haha! x

  12. Alice, I have read your blog and watched you deal with lifes challenges from afar and I think you are doing incredibly well. I look at the pictures of your children and they look happy. Not just ‘Ill smile for the camera happy’ but a genuine happiness. Ignore comments which are designed to hurt you. I never understand why people read blogs they don’t enjoy but then again people are odd.

    I hope you have a little Christmas with your little family and that 2014 is full of happiness for you.

    Xx

  13. Respect, sistah, you are DOING IT.

    Your kids look happy and I know from reading this and from conversations we’ve had that you’re focussing on making them your priority, not just at Christmas but all the time, and they are obviously thriving which shines through from your pictures.

    Merry Christmas babe, let’s hope 2014 is less tumultuous for you all. Here’s to new traditions and being happy xx

  14. Ignore the fuck-weasels, Alice!

    I’ve been following your blog for just over a year now and I really admire the way you appear to have handled your divorce, and written about it so honestly.

    And you know what? Who gives a toss if you WERE to be bloody selfish when writing your blog. It’s your space to vent your feelings, deal with your shit, and your kids are too young to really know what’s been going on, so much better a healthy, happy mummy with a place to sound off. You’re doing an ace job.

    Have a Merry Christmas, and big drink on me!

  15. I’m not sure what that Johanna comment was meant to be about. It made no sense to me.

    Anyway, we are only humans, we have emotions and memories and sometimes, yes, we are selfish – SO fucking what! Why is it that some people think as soon as one becomes a mother they cannot be their own person with feelings, actions and normal dose of selfishness (which happens to be needed when one needs to work through their own issues and pains). And what pisses me off most of all is that she is a women and should know better!

    Maybe, she is feeling resentful because she has not got the guts and brains to do what you did – something that was obvusoulsy right for you and your children. And you are honest to say it ain’t easy which ever road you follow but you’re still moving forward no matter what – not just for yourself but for your children. If that is selfish, well tell her to do one!

  16. Firstly I’m learning to ignore any angry people whose opinions don’t matter. Secondly I think you are being wonderfully brave and doing an excellent job for your children. How many others in your position just wallow – but you have got that tree! You are making those traditions and even offered to share it with him – for your children. You are so strong and I really admire you.

    Hope you have a Merry Christmas xx

  17. You might be dreading the thought of Christmas as a single parent, but I’m sure Elfie and Hux will make it extra special for you. Have a merry Christmas and here’s to a kick-ass 2014 for you x

  18. I started reading this thinking it’d make me feel gloomy. But no. You might have big fat changes going on, and sad feelings, but what I got most from your post was such optimism and a really good and healthy attitude.

    Good on you. good for saying it like it is, but also, realising that you CAN still have a lovely Christmas for you and your children.

    I wish you a fabulous one. Enjoy the mulled wine :O) All the best for a much smoother 2014.

  19. Wow…I always read your posts and find myself still thinking about your story later. I can’t imagine what you have been experiencing away from the comfort of your blog but what I do know is that you sound like an amazing mother and person who is just doing their best everyday, trying to move forward with life.

    Keep it up, everything happens for a reason, it just sometimes takes us on a crappy path until we find out why it was worth the battle and the hard work.

    Hope you had a good Christmas…wishing you all lots of love and luck for 2014.

    Katie x
    http://www.missenchanting.co.uk/

  20. This time of year can feel pretty forced and full of expectations at the best of times let alone when you’re going through something tough like a divorce.

    Coming from someone whose parents stayed together way way longer than they should have done I can say for sure that Christmas with one happy parent is definitely preferable to two miserable ones. And while this Christmas might have been hard for you I’m sure ones to come will only get easier and in time your kids will be so proud of what you have done for them. xx

  21. You have made a very good point about mourning a life that could have been. Back then, I found letting go extremely hard. I can only begin to understand how much harder it would have been with two wee ones in tow… Looking back, it was all for the better and I am much happier today than I could have ever been with that man. I am sure that life has great things for you in store, dearest Alice. You are so young (in fact, you are now about the same age I was when the big D struck); life is literally in front of you.

    Hugs and love and kisses! I hope you have kept a little of that mulled wine stashed away for those gruesome grey months to come. I reckon they take them out of the shops after Christmas. And I just realised with panic that no, I haven’t anything stashed away whatsoever.
    Here’s to a very happy 2014! Dxxx

  22. The first Christmas after a separation sucks, this time last year I had just moved in with my ex and now less than 12 months later I am back at my parents, having left my home and failing to get over him.

    Sounds like you have done so well, I hope you had a brilliant Christmas.

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