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,

Saint Plank



§ 37 Responses to A Christmas Day Revelation, of Sorts

  • Barry says:

    Dear Saint Plank…May all your Wishes Come True ….A very Happy Christmas to you and ALL your Family ….

  • Margaux says:

    I’ve just looked in to see if you would post this morning and you’ve brought a tear to my eye, P.
    Christmas is for children after all and I am glad yours have the best of all Christmas gifts today.
    Happy happy Christmas to you too x And to all of us who have followed you these last few months. May all our Christmas wishes come true xxx

    • The Plankton says:

      Thanks so much, Margaux and hear hear (about all our Christmas wishes coming true). By the way, if anyone has a happy story to tell us in 2012, if they do come true, please don’t hesitate… Pxx

  • Elle says:

    If you haven’t been able to get a shiny new husband so far maybe it’s a sign you shouldn’t turn down the old one if he makes a pass later today. I bet I’m not the first person to say that either!

    Have a great day. I’m with family, but so wish I had a partner to share at least some of the days. As Christmases go by the chances of that get more and more remote. I don’t expect somebody shiny and new at this stage and would happily accept someone else’s slightly tarnished leavings. I’m very fond of shabby chic and things of good quality wear well. Ah well, wishes won’t get the turkey cooked!

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Elle, I promise that the outcome you predict will not come to pass, but I expect you are right and it will have passed a few people’s minds. Happy Christmas and New Year to you. Px

  • Leftatforty says:

    Dear Saint P, first of all thank you for your writings. Great prose.
    If you are a Saint, I am the devil incarnated. I wish for my husband (ex) to spend all Christmas by himself. Mind you it’s been 17 months only (not that I am counting). I’ve heard many stories like yours, the modern divorce full of forgiveness, generosity and perhaps smugness. Not mine. But everyone deals with pain in their on way, I suppose.
    Seasonal greetings to you and planktons all over the world.

  • paolo says:

    Your decision to include your ex-husband in your Christmas was a lovely and thoughtful gesture, and one which I’m sure, above everything else, your children appreciated. Whatever someone believes in – whether it’s New Testament love, karma, or just plain good old-fashioned kindness to others – I do think that when someone lives their life according to principles of kindness and love they ultimately get rewarded because other people (whether consciously or not) pick up on that vibe and more often than not reciprocate. Perhaps lost in all this concern all of us have about finding the right partner – the one with just the right amount of wit, intelligence, looks, character, and intangible good stuff – is the simple fact that we all are looking to love and be loved. It’s really pretty basic when you think about it.

  • Joules says:

    Dear Ms P.

    You are a saint and do deserve something good – take it this is your saintly act that you wrote of a few days ago. I could not do it but then I have no children – who really mean you have to lean to the saintly end of the spectrum. I can lean towards the demon end and do.

    Lots of luck to you and all other plankton this year – may we either get what we desire or the grace to accept what we actually already have – our lives our way.

  • Lydia says:

    I just don’t by the basic premise of the blog that happiness equals having a partner. Why couldn’t 2012 bring aneven better result – happy without wanting or needing a man? Adopt the old slogan – a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle or just be happy without one. If none of that is possible don’t pass on to your children the message that women are only happy if they are in a couple.

    I don;t understand couples who come together with a divorced partner at Christmas but if it has worked for you all then that’s fine. It seems fake, morally wrong and very confusing for children and makes it harder for people to move on.

      • Margaux says:

        21 gun salute!!!!

        Wild applause and rapturous cheering!

        Viva La Plankton!!!

        Give it a rest, Lyd – it’s Christmas! 😉

      • Miss J says:

        Hahaha! Succinctly put P!

        Coming together at Christmas surely teaches children that they will always have two parents who love and support them, it’s not about raising hopes or giving false expectations – kids aren’t stupid you know!

        I’ve done this a few times since my ex and I divorced and the kids truly appreciated the gesture – as did the ex. I hope I’ve stacked up a few Karma points for doing so and that I too will be rewarded with the man of my dreams in 2012…but I won’t hold my breath!

      • Lizzie from Oz says:

        It certainly is bollocks. I get together with my ex-husband and his family nearly every Christmas (in part because my entire family are back in England where I was born – only moved to Australia when I was 30). It means our kids are not torn about which house to be at, they don’t have to try and fit too many venues into one day, it’s comfortable, and I can communicate with my ex and his new wife and child well enough to smoothly pass the day. And I have a good day.
        But this does not mean that it is an absolute breeze to do this – as Plankton would agree – it takes a little bit of hard work and generosity of spirit too. But so, so much better than the alternative.

      • Jo says:

        Yes I’m with you on that comment P. Double bollocks.

    • T Lover says:

      Two points of view.

      The children. The first time I found out my wife was playing away we lived apart for a couple of years.

      I asked one what she wanted present wise. She said for us all to be back together for Christmas. So it was. I took the wife back. The kids were ecstatic.

      Mine. Years of unhappiness and distrust followed. I was tortured every time the wife would not answer her phone. What was she up to this time?

      Now. I would put my head in the gas oven rather than have Christmas with her duplicitous ladyship and her latest bloke (with the IQ of a slug) and so I miss out kids wise.

      Conclusion. The kids would have been better off in the long run if I had not had her back. The atmosphere at home was often poisonous. And I would have avoided ten unhappy years.

      Every situation is very different

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        Well… I would not dream of taking Ex back even if he decided to give up his exotic ladies… We’re only spending Xmas together and then I send him on his way… I suppose I was so relieved when I finally managed to… dislodge him that, 4 years later, I still feel grateful I have been given a new chance in this life (hence atmosphere ok chez nous)

      • Lydia says:

        Mot children post divorce hope their parents will get back together (not mine as they lobbied for the divorce but that’s rare) so any coming together which could make them have false hope is not a good thing and makes it harder for the adults to move on. However I’m a liberarian – let people choose to be as they wish to be but with all of us having a right to make our own comment.

      • ToneDeafSinger says:

        And who says spending Xmas together gives the children false hopes? That is only your speculation, Lydia.

      • Lizzie from Oz says:

        Absolute bollocks again Lydia. Of course there is no false hope. We are just being civil – that’s all. And your children lobbied for the divorce did they? That’s a wind-up if ever I heard one.

  • EmGee says:

    Dear St P! I knew you’d have glad tidings on this day!

    It is also a relief that you’ve been able to keep things in perspective and still enjoy a traditional family holiday. I am sure God will put a gold star next to your name, not sure there is such a thing as a pure motive, but your kids will have at least one more happy memory of Christmas with Mom and Dad.

    Merry Christmas, and here’s to a Shiny New Year with Love bursting from our Hearts! (and someone Special to share it with).

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    Well I have to say I totally agree with Plankton’s reply to Lydia. Whilst it is ok to express one’s opinions, I feel Lydia’s latest comments are patronising, judgmental, antagonistic and inflamatory… and I could probably find more adjectives if I tried. I also spent today (Xmas) with Ex and daughter – up to a point. Everything went according to plan, I got up early, put the turkey in the oven, went back for some more sleep, then got up and did the rest of the food. After lunch Ex fell more or less asleep in front of the TV, and Daughter and I made an exit – drove to see friends about a 20 min. drive from here. One of the friends owns a restaurant which was closed to the public, but he had cooked for friends – they had pooled money to pay for the meal. Daughter and I joined them after the meal for the rest of the afternoon and evening. There were about 20 of us including two friends of Daughter’s so she was happy to have children to play with. I felt I had a really good day this way. And a parting shot – the lady (Lydia) doth protest too much. This mantra – happy without needing a man, and a woman needs a fish like a fish needs a bicycle – is becoming a little tedious through overexposure.

    • Lydia says:

      A lot of people only like yes men. It would be a dull planet if we all just agreed with each other. I can’t help being happy and optimistic and I think I have ways to ensure others can be like that which I think it’s worth spreading. No one has to read what I write and there is nothing as easy as on a blog which vets comments in blocking a poster.

      My point above goes to the very heart of the blog – the suggestion that a man or woman without a spouse must want or need one and that a relationship is the only route to happiness. I challenge that. I have not given up men and I like them but I would not be less happy if I never found one. The mental state of happiness does not relate to having a partner or not.

  • Miss Bates says:

    Good “karma” can’t hurt . . . Merry Christmas, Plankton.

    (Now any survival tips for the dreaded New Year’s Eve?)

  • june says:

    How very kind of you plankon to invite your ex. Sure your kids enjoyed having him there too.

    I had a lovely day myself at kind and caring friends, she has a lovely little daughter, a nice kind husband who drove me home, and her brother and his family were there to. How kind friends are, and how in some cases, especially in an orphan only childs life, such as mine, they replace your family. My own two cousins are conspicuous by their absence, i did receive a christmas card from them each, im amazed they actually bothered to address the envelope. and put a stamp on it! . A visit would be out of question, after all 30 miles is such a long distance to travel. Still have been invited to another friends tomorrow, the one who dreads becoming a plankton, things are ok with her relationship at moment, and i get on ok with her partner,

    So dear P hard as it is being a plankton with your blog and good friends i will cope and who knows what 2012 will bring forth for us all.Good things we hope.

  • Ms. Duvessa says:

    Like you, dear Plankton, I invited my ex to join me at my parents home for Christmas. The alternative for him would have been the day alone.

    Further, again like you, I am hoping my caring ways will bring a bit of good karma my way in the form of a life partner.

    It has never felt natural to me to be single. I limp through life alone and soar when happily coupled.

    Thank you for this blog it brings me a bit of comfort and smiles.

    Happy, happy holiday.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Ms Duvessa, Thank you for commenting – your first comment, I think, though apologies if I am wrong? I am glad you are enjoying the blog and particularly that it’s giving you comfort and smiles. Happy New Year! Px

  • Erin says:

    Dear P – I hope 2012 is the happiest year ever for you! May all your wishes come true : )

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