Last Friday evening saw the official start of Christmas in my house - a ritual that's always been a highlight of the whole season. I've always put the tree up as sooon as possible; many years ago when my step-children were small and we did the 'every other weekend' thing I liked to make sure they saw the flat 'all christmassy' for at least two visits. It seems hilarious now I have my own children that my tree then was themed 'pink' or 'feathers' or 'glass' and of course I vowed my OWN children would NEVER have an advent calendar with chocolate in, oh no!
The children crowded around the ladder to the loft and excitedly helped their father pull down the boxes of Christmas paraphernalia; treasure troves of family history - I marvelled at the children's handmade decorations from previous years, we put up the fake tree in the front room, set aside the best ornaments for the Real Tree to be put up in the other sitting room on Sunday. Forgotten Christmas books were pounced upon - what a difference a year makes - my six year old can read them all to himself. A glass of wine for mummy and daddy, bed-time glass of milk for the helpers.
What a difference a year makes, indeed. Their father, my husband, offically moved out the next morning. This is something I want and instigated one balmy humid night, what feels like years ago, in August. On Saturday night (comfortably numbed by the bottle of Sancerre Best Friend Forever had insisted I neck) I arrived home in a taxi from London, the driver helped me carry my sleeping babies into an empty house. For the first time in 14 years just me, and them.
I'm looking forward to a day that I won't wake up feeling I might be sick. However, when I can bear to look in the mirror and see the somewhat manic, slightly hungover, terror and despair it's definitely tinged with relief, not regret.
A list of things that are helping
Swearing - saying SHIT and FUCK a lot really helps
Hugs both real and virtual
Cuddles - I was even nice to the cat the other day
The fact that the weather matches - suitably cold, dark days
Red wine in ABUNDANCE
Dancing around kitchen when a bit drunk - Black Eyed Peas mostly
Finding a stash of Estranged's diazepam yesterday meant some SLEEP
Sobbing (yes showing emotion, me! wtf)
Unintentional weightloss (I'm a shallow creature)