Last Christmas was undoubtedly the worst Christmas of my life.
My (then) husband and I hadn’t been back to Tasmania for Christmas for many years. He always thought it was too expensive to make the trip home to see his family, but last Christmas we had the perfect reason to make it happen – our brand new baby boy.
I was looking forward to it more than anything, until I caught my husband cheating on me with my best friend. In an instant that dream was buried underneath a heavy layer of grief and a determination to be the best mum I could be for my son.
So, my first Christmas as a newly single mum ended up sneaking up on me a bit. It was about eight months after my break up and I really thought I was doing ok, but as the holiday season approached, I realised just how many emotional hurdles I had to tackle. I was still coming to terms with my divorce and my husband’s betrayal, I was still coming to terms with the loss of my family unit and every time I thought of that big Christmas get together I’d dreamed of for so long, it was like an angry rabid dog was trying to pull my guts right out of my throat.
And I didn’t know what to do. I pondered and stewed on it, I cried, I avoided making a decision, I imagined that rabid dog eating the guts he’d just pulled out of my throat right off the ground and laughing at me as he did so. I just wanted the whole damn thing to go away. I wished I could disappear into a hole and come back once it was all over.
But that’s not the way life works when you have children.
So, eventually I made the decision to fly back to the Gold Coast and be with my family for this most grim and depressing day.
And this is where my story of Christmas as a newly single mum really starts…
As Christmas once again envelops us in arms heavily laden with sparkly baubles and twinkling fairy lights, I’ve taken a moment to think back on what was the worst Christmas of my life.
Here’s what I remember…
– Being on the beach for Christmas breakfast with my family eating croissants and Coco Pops as Little Man caught his first glimpse of the river and spent the morning trying to escape all of us to crawl into it, with a twinkling gleam of mischief in his eyes and a giggle that said ‘You can’t catch me!’.
– My sister running along the beach trying to fly the kite that Santa had given Little Man. It was a disaster and it was hilarious. I don’t think it stayed off the ground for more than a few seconds and the whole concept of ‘flying a kite’ was totally lost on Little Man.
– Sitting in the shallow water of Tallebudgera Creek with Little Man by my side in one very water-logged nappy, feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face.
– Having Christmas lunch together and all of us sitting around the table making stupid noises to see who could make Little Man laugh the most.
Of course these aren’t the only things I remember. I also remember some painful things if I think hard enough, but they weren’t the first, the second or even the third things that popped into my head as I looked back on Christmas last year.
So if this is your first Christmas as a newly single mum, or even your second or third, it’s true, there may be challenges associated with the day, even the whole holiday season. Those challenges may even shake you to your core, but know that it’s still possible to look back on it with a smile, to remember the treasured moments with your children and have confidence that one day, the pain you’re feeling won’t be able to hurt you anymore.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may the magical moments, no matter how big or small be the things that stick with you throughout all of your days.
Hi! If you’re a new subscriber, I’m Lift Magazine’s editor, Naomi. Together with single mums from Australia and as far away as Canada and the UK, we’ve created Lift to be a place where you can find hope and empowerment, and know that you’re not alone as you journey into the transformational new phase of life that is single motherhood. If you’d like to read more about my story, you can do so in my blog where I’ve been documenting my life as a single mum from Day 1.