The author of this post is known to Mamamia. She just doesn’t want her children realising what an arse their father is, so she’s keeping it anonymous.
What’s your plan for Christmas? How are you? What’s been happening lately? How’s the family?
Sometimes the most innocent of questions are the most difficult.
Sometimes these questions, said so innocently, at times with an air of banality are just too hard to answer. You hear them and your throat catches as you struggle to form words, your stomach fills with dread.
This time of year there’s already such a fragile line between sadness and joy, but there is one question that, for so many, is the hardest of all.
What’s your plan for Christmas?
It’s a question that most people probably don’t give a second thought to asking. Quite often they don’t have much more than a fraction of interest in the answer, but they are simply trying to make polite conversation. What they don’t realise is how the eyes of the person they ask freezes over, how their voice shakes, how they temper their hands. They don’t realise how the question can invoke grief or sadness, anxiety or distress.
For many thousands of people Christmas is a complicated, difficult time of year. It’s a time that brings out not just the best, but quite often the worst of people.
Domestic violence episodes skyrocket, tensions boil over custody issues and marriages fall apart.
It’s emotionally charged filled with rose tinted memories of Christmases gone by, of happier times. Remember-whens.
LISTEN: When is it time – if ever – to tell the kids Mr. Claus isn’t real? We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues after audio.
There were years when the words “what’s your plan for Christmas” would kill me.
I would go cold inside. I would to myself wonder yes, what are they? With a failed marriage, the happier, easy-going Christmas traditions were gone. Replaced with what? A mish-mash of whose turn is it to have the kids.
And more often than not he just didn’t show.
There were weeks wondering whether he would agree to show up “just for the sake of the children”, fraught arguments and silence.
But what do you do? Do you grit your teeth and go through the motions just to get through the day, or do you face hours waiting, wondering if he will show, hoping, wishing away your soul for the day to be like it once was just for the sake of the kids.