A Christmas Day Revelation, of Sorts
December 25, 2011 § 37 Comments
I haven’t been entirely honest in as much as I failed to mention that a few days ago I invited my ex-husband to join everyone here at my mother’s house for Christmas! Wew! Now there’s a thing. But, I may add, strictly not in the biblical sense!
It turned out that he was going to be spending Christmas entirely alone and, dyed-in-the-wool softie that I am, I took pity on him. Family and friends were all positive and sweetly patted me on the back and thought this was how divorce ought to be. I felt insufferably smug. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but my extended family are the past masters, set wonderfully civilised, imaginative and generous examples, and I knew the children would be ecstatic. They are. They said it promised to be their best Christmas ever, and so far the signs are excellent. It is all quite odd, and at the same time not remotely so. Everything familiar, and perhaps extra poignant for that familiarity. At this time of year, more than ever. The family traditions, the ancient in-jokes, the same old anecdotes and rituals, all of which he knows so well, plus a few new jokes with reference to the new circumstances, all very good-humoured. He and I wrapped the stockings as we always used to, and watched the children opening them together in our old bedroom here, which is now exclusively mine. An absence of tension or anger. Oh, it’s all so marvellously modern.
But I have a confession. Apart from knowing how happy it would make the children, and not wishing to imagine their father alone on this very family day, my act of inviting him wasn’t entirely altruistic. I had my own private, more selfish reasons. To explain: when I chose the house I live in, I did so because it had a warm and inviting air about it, an atmosphere, and I thought it would suit the children and myself perfectly. But I also did so because, as I think I may have mentioned before, the previous occupant moved into it alone with her children after her divorce, and five years later, blow me down, bumped into an old university friend who was still a bachelor and tra la! Married! Happy ever after! I thought the house might bring me similar luck, and that was the deal-clincher. Well, it hasn’t yet, but I am very happy there. Anyway, so it was with my decision to invite my ex-husband for Christmas. I slightly, no, seriously hoped that such a saintly act (which turns out to be far from onerous) might have the added benefit of pleasing the powers that be and prompting them to think, Hell, this woman has done her innings, she’s had a seriously shitty past few years, We think it’s her turn now and she’s in for a bit of good fortune at last. She’s been good to her old husband, why don’t we reward her with a lovely, shiny new one?
I am not entirely sure that I believe in the powers that be – let’s for the sake of argument on this of all days call them God – but I must do a bit, otherwise I would have topped myself many a time and oft by now, and haven’t.
Today, of all days, I do believe in Him, and I hope He will shine down on all of us in 2012 and allow all plankton a little hope and joy and luck in love. And who knows, next Christmas I – we all? – could be thanking Him for a husband/lover/man/partner/boyfriend/whatever takes our fancy, rather than pleading with Him for one. That would be a fine thing indeed.
Happy Christmas and New Year to all of you.
With all best wishes,