Monday, 5 December 2011

A single mother at 53.. what ever next!!

Well its done and over and I am now a divorcer woman. Who would have thought it here I am single mother at 53 living in a foriegn country with two boys one of whom seems set , unintentionally, on damaging as many parts of his body before Christmas as he can, having got over an emergency appendectamy he has now fallen and ripped all the tendons in his right hand, and the other boy is now an interesting melange of anger and sadness, a combination which makes everyday an emotional roller coaster. I am living with two angry young men. Both of whom blame thier father for abandoning them for his new family. His new partner has two girls about the same age as our boys so there is the added frisson of them thinking he prefers girlsto them and had they been girls he might have stayed . Of course the fact that he hasnt even met these girls despite living with thier mother for 9 months seems to make it worse for them. To them he has chosen a pre-made family of unknown children over those he had himself. No amount of my trying to explain and reassure seems to wash that doubt away. Middle with his painful hand is doubly made sore by his father not contacting him to enquire how he is. Youngest just wants to kill him. In the absence of their father theie anger is turned on each other and on me. Oh what joyful times we live in !

When I say its all done of course it isnt and probably never will be. There is all the paperwork to do now, changing my name on every kind of legal document back to my maiden name, changing the passports, taking over all the standing orders for gas electric, phone, all the taxes, all the bills and desperatly praying that my now ex husband keeps his word and pays the share he has promised. Of course with new contracts to be set up with all the utilities come new deposits as well so in the weeks towards Christmas, when my mind is usually full of finding presents to delight, it is weighed down with worries about where the money is going to come from and how I can stretch my all ready paper thin budget to cover presents from Santa on top of everything else . I want to make this Christmas a happy special one do dispel the spectre of the last one looming, like Dickens ghost of Christmas past ,over everything.

I work all weekend at aChristmas craft fayres to raise some extra money. I stay up way past my bed time to make sure I put the kiln, dishwasher and washing machine on during cheap reate electricity times and nag the kids to turn of lights and anything else that burns electricity and not run the taps when they clean their teeth. I watch in horror as middle shoots up another 6 inches overnight and despair when both come home with holes in the knees of thier jeans from school hoping that the January sales come up with cheap replacements. I have alwasy prided myself on being a good housewife and a frugal one but I am discovereding there is a big differnence between being so because you want to and doing so because you have no safety net to catch you if you don't.

There are of course safety nets here and the French state will do its best for us. I could go to the mairee and ask for food handouts but I think I'm too proud for that at the moment. Ive applied for aid with fuel, school fees and electricity but everything is based on my husbands salary of two years ago so no entitlements there and the children bless them have written santa the shortest wish lists in the history of that tradition. Middle reckons he doesnt deserve anything as patently he must have been very bad bearing in mind all that has happenned to him this year.

But grumbling aside ,and this is all this missive is, me grumbling , its nto me drowning or despairing its jsut letting off steam so I can go on trying my best and not letting off steam at the boys. Even if I can not give the children the sort of Christmas they so much deserve and would love to give them, with careful shopping and a stocking full of cheap and cheerful smiles I plan to make this Chrismtas a good one even if the smiles are paper ones glued on to hide the cracks and there may not be as many presents under the tree as usual.

The advent calendars I made lat year are hanging in the kitchen pockets filed with tiny treats and I am accumilating small delights for thier stockigns. This Father Christmas will instead be Mother Christmas and it will be a happy Christmas to remember , I will make sure of it. It is after all our first with just the 4 of us , when eldest comes back from University we will dress the tree as ever by candlelight with carols on the cd p layer and we will make new traditions and buld on them each year. So if any of you have any family traditions you can share then please let me know so I can steal the appropriate ones and call them my own in years to come, after all Christmas is a time of giving and the gift of sharing costs nothing !!


Tattie Weasle said...

Christmas tradition here is opening stockings in my bedroom with all the dogs and kids together at sparrows fart o'clock. It gets kind of crazy but its the only time we have as just us as we have extended family to stay.
There is usually a CD from Ftraher Christmas which we then sing a long to and it helps get us moving with making Christmas lunch. Lots of singing and dancing round the table...

Pondside said...

This Christmas will be the one that the three children will look back on in 10, 20,30rs and say to one another 'remember when....'. You are going to make it that Christmas, by grace and sheer will - the best Christmas ever.

Nora said...

You sound like the kind of woman who will pull something off by sheer willpower. I think you will make a success of this Christmas come hell or high water. I wish you the best of luck and lots of good cheer. For yourself first of all and for the boys second. XOX

Chris Stovell said...

Like the wise heads who've commented before me I just know that you're going to make Christmas special however small the budget.

Some advice that served me well during some particularly dark days was that my children would be 'as good as you are' so I kept my chin up and, lo, they did too. Having said all that I hope Santa puts a few treats in your stocking, because you surely deserve them.

Friko said...

Hit the (cooking) sherry before lunch and make merry on Christmas Day.

Dressing the tree, singing along to whatever lights your candle sounds good; Traipsing into the woods and collecting greenery also makes my season jolly; that's something you can all do. Games are good, at least part of the time.

Actually, not having any rules is good, nobody being strict, staying relaxed even if it all goes pear shaped.

"Do you remember that awful Christmas when x was sick all over the y, or the dogs ate half the turkey, or the tree fell over because z crashed into it', that sort of thing can make for jolly memories if you don't get uptight at the time.

Even if you find it hard, laugh. They'll laugh with you.

Good luck, old girl.

Frankie said...

I am so sorry for the hard times, but I admire your spirit. Try not to worry too much about money and presents--that's not what makes a Christmas.

I just wanted to say, being a child of divorce myself, your boys will be okay. It must be so hard for you to see them hurting so badly right now, so try to hold this in your heart--they will heal.

Merry Christmas.

Fennie said...

An exciting and a harrowing post in equal measure. I can well imagine how your boys feel having myself had to put up with one parent divorcely absenting herself between the ages of 4 and 16 and knowing it was somehow all my fault. But provided the boys can learn from you that everyone carries gremlins around in their heads, gremlins that talk an awful lot of convincing nonsense about being at fault and that they learn that the only way to silencing the gremlins is to show love whether for self or others and that (even) worse things do occasionally happen, they ought to be fine with you to guide them. I hope so.

As for Christmas traditions: capacious stockings of course, presents bought from the charity shop almost at random, presents given from and to the dog, cat, squirrels, mice as well as from the members of the family, champagne with carols on Christmas morning, a film, a dark fruit cake large enough to cover with an ice rink of royal icing on which to build a village with houses that have lights in them and little elves with wheelbarrows, trudging through the snow or rather the ice (ing) on the cake. Puddings that never get eaten on Christmas Day set alight with brandy and eaten with 'Randy Rutter' as youngest said when she was three. Party poppers and silly hats. As Private Eye might say (That's enough tradition-Ed)

Fennie said...

Oh - just remembered - and always a good party on 12th Night to round the whole thing off and get rid of the decorations.