Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Ghosts of Christmases past

In case you hadn’t noticed, December starts in two more days.  We are less than 4 weeks away from the visit from Ho Ho.  Christmas is coming.  I used to love, love LOVE Christmas.  I loved the decorations, I loved the music, I loved the shopping, the lights, the cards, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings, the fun, the excitement, the headaches, the worries, the pressure, the hassle…er hustle and bustle of the whole holiday season.

Then two years ago, my marriage fell apart.  It had been crumbling for a long time, and we had been holding it up by string, and band aids, and hopes and dreams and broken promises. It collapsed under the weight of the destruction we had heaped on it.  It fell apart during the holiday season.  But we(ok I) faked it through the holidays, to spare the kids.  I could live with my holidays being ruined, I didn’t want my children to forever associate Christmas with our divorce.  

That year, I hated Christmas, and I hated him for taking the joy and laughter and love and fun and PEACE out of my favorite holiday.  That year, there was barely a tree, there were no other decorations, no music, no cookies, no candles, no sounds, no smells, no hustle and bustle.  I did the best I could to preserve the holiday for the kids, he seemed to be doing his best to destroy what little bit of joy I could muster.

Last year would have been our 1st holiday apart, but ‘for the sake of the kids’ we tried to do the holiday together.  Not the extended version of the holiday (all the in-laws hate us, his mother hates me –feeling’s mutal- my mother hates him) just our family Christmas.  He promised we could be a family again, that all he wanted for Christmas was his family back again.  I tried to give him that.  He managed to ruin Christmas last year too.

Last year, Dec 23rd he celebrated at his work Christmas party by drinking 8 glasses of home-made wine.  (He’s diabetic)  I got the phone call to come pick him up, he was throwing up, blood.  I went to pick him up, and take him back to my apartment.  Mind you, my father and his wife were coming to celebrate their 1st Christmas with my kids (long story, another post entirely) and my brother and SIL were coming over.  I was due to have company, I had a drunk, puking ex-husband to contend with, kids to get from the sitter, and dinner to cook.

I put his ass to bed. I wanted to shoot him but realized that would relieve him from the inevitable misery that was headed his way once he sobered up.  Wouldn’t miss that suffering for the world, and was actually looking forward to adding to it.

I survived that night without him.  I locked him in the bedroom and threatened to bang pots and pans in close proximity to his throbbing head if he DARED venture beyond that door.  My father and his wife didn’t say much about the situation, but my brother was pissed and it took everything I had to keep him from going in there and giving the ex what-for.  Wouldn’t have done any good, he was 2 steps away from dead.

At 11:30 that night, my ex decides he should go to the hospital because he can’t manage to keep any kind of liquids down, and he’s thinking he’s seriously dehydrated. Duh-ya think?  So, get the kids out of bed, get his best friends out of bed to come get my kids to take to his mom’s (the evil wicked ex-MIL) and take him to the hospital.  Wait!  Did I forget to mention that Santa was supposed to visit our house that night and presents still needed to be wrapped?  I was counting on him to help WRAP them, it was the least he could do, since he surely didn’t help PAY for them.  No such luck there. What was I thinking?  Actually believing I could count on him to help with Christmas?

I spent our pseudo Christmas Eve at the hospital taking care of a very drunk, very sick, very dehydrated ex-husband who has once again managed to ruin Christmas for me and the kids.  Selfish bastard.

Did the presents get wrapped and under the tree in time? Nope.  We somehow managed to get them wrapped without the kids and put under the tree, but I’m thinking that the whole Christmas mystery is no longer a mystery.  (Thanks for that one too, asshole)

The icing on the cake?  He asked me to bring the girls to his family’s Christmas celebration the following weekend, and asked me to stay and celebrate with them.  Fine, you ruined my Christmas, I am entitled to at least one happy celebration, even if I have to sit across from your mother and pretend to like her.  I can fake it for a couple of hours, (with enough alcohol.)  Joke was on me.  He had his ‘girlfriend’ over the night before, and she had spent the night. (something I was never allowed to do until AFTER I was married to him. Never mind that we lived together and had a daughter together.  SHE’s special, she doesn’t need the sanctity of marriage to sleep in OUR bed. The bitch) The bitch had barely left a mere 10 minutes before the girls and I pulled into the driveway.  The whole family was still talking about her and how wonderful she is, and how sorry they were to see her leave, when the girls and I walked in.  I got my revenge.  I looked at him and his family (mother/brothers/sisters-in-law) and told them “If she’s so fucking wonderful, call her, I’m sure you can get her back here in just a couple of minutes. You’d much rather have her here than me and my kids. Don’t let me and MY girls ruin your holiday.” And promptly took my girls and walked out and left.  Even when his mother said to me ‘I can’t believe you’re going to do this to the girls.  They deserve to have Christmas with their family.’  
‘You’re right, and they will.  With Me.  I am their family.  You made it clear we’re not welcome or wanted here.  You have already replaced us, go get her. They don’t need to sit here and listen to you all go on and on about how wonderful Daddy’s girlfriend is, right in front of their mother.  It’s my weekend, I’m taking them.”

They celebrated without my children.  I was not about to sit there and pretend everything was alright when I knew she had just left there and would be back as soon as I left.  And the whole family was wishing she was there instead of me.  

So, I am trying to find my way back to the Christmas spirit I used to know and love.  I have started listening to Christmas music in the car this weekend.  I actually walk through the Christmas section at Wal-Mart looking at the decorations, feeling the Christmas spirit coming back.  I am actually thinking of putting up the tree this weekend instead of 2 weeks from now.  I am looking forward to a possible baking day at my mother’s house this year, making all the Christmas goodies with the kids.  I am looking forward to Christmas shopping, wrapping the presents.  I am looking forward to all of the hassle..er hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Even the juggling of schedules, making sure the kids all get to all of their possible Christmas celebrations with all of the branches of their families.  I am determined to keep Scrooge as far away from my holiday celebration as possible.

The ghosts of Christmases past still rattle around in my memories and serve to remind me of the pain and destruction the ex can cause during the holidays.  It’s enough to keep him out of my life this year.  I can celebrate Christmas with my kids without him and we will all be better for it.

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