The day after I received my GCSE results my Dad told the family that he was filing for divorce. Initially we thought it would move fast and my parents would find new houses fairly quickly but that didn’t happen. Fast forward about four and a half years and I have been living in my new house with my Dad and sister for nearly a year, whilst my Mum and other sister have their own new house.
The divorce proceedings took a long time and it meant we were all together in the same house for years as the divorce was settled and finalised. When my Dad first told me he was going to get a divorce I was angry and upset but soon realised it was for the best. I think sometimes people expect children to be very damaged after a divorce but I’m glad it happened as my parents are both happier for it now. There was no point trying to make something last for the sake of their mortgage or their children who were nearly adults when they had fallen out of love. Sometimes marriages don’t last and that’s okay. My parents had many happy years together but people change and after twenty two years it was time to call it a day.
Whilst I can look back on the last few years now and see that it was worth it, it wasn’t always easy. One thing that did not feel the same was Christmas. When we sat down to Christmas dinner the year the divorce proceedings began it was so awkward. It almost felt fake, like we were pretending to be this happy family for the day when we all knew the reality of the situation. We barely spoke to each other but it was our routine, we had Christmas dinner together every year and we didn’t know any different.
I think Christmas all together will be one of the things I will always miss about my childhood. I grew up in the same house all my life and that’s where I had all my memories. It’s where I believed in Santa and would run down the stairs to see what presents had been left. It’s where I would come home to after holiday and walk in to my house and recognise the smell. It’s where I could walk around the house in pitch black and know exactly where everything was. It was familiar. It was home.
Having to move house was probably the worst part of the divorce for me. Even once my parents had got divorced we were still all living in the same house whilst our house was sold and my Mum and Dad found their new houses. When it was finally time to pack up our stuff and move out it was all finally over. I was at university on the day my parents and sister moved out completely and handed over the keys which I think I’m quite glad about. I always remember the house filled with our stuff, not empty ready for strangers to move in and make it their own.
Because Christmas wasn’t the same my sister and I decided to create Christmas Eve Eve. We didn’t want a morbid Christmas with divorce looming over everything. On the 23rd of December we invited our closest friends round for Christmas Eve Eve. We made a full Christmas dinner for everyone, exchanged presents and drank until eventually everyone crashed out in the living room.
Christmas Eve Eve became a tradition and this year will be our fourth. We took a break last year as we moved into our new houses just before Christmas so didn’t have time to unpack and get moved in but it will return this year. Even though it was split between two houses, Christmas was better last year. There was less tension and everyone seemed happier, even if we were surrounded by boxes.
I guess Christmas Eve Eve is one of the best things to come out of the divorce. We made the best out a bad situation and it is one of the main things I look forward to now at Christmas time.
So Merry Christmas ya filthy animals. What traditions do you have? Even if your situation isn’t great right now, don’t be a Scrooge and make the most of it.