I struggle with Christmas and here’s why. I brought my kids up as a single parent; for whatever reasons their dads were not involved in their lives at all. The run up to Christmas was always a bit stressful, but I liked making sure that the kids had everything they wanted and they were always really grateful.
On Christmas Eve I would wait until they were asleep and creep into the living room as quietly as I could, lay out their stockings and take a bite out of the mince pie and carrot. Then I would go to bed proud that I had done what I could to make them happy.
But there was always something missing. I always wished that I had someone to share both the responsibility and the excitement, and that felt quite lonely. The days of creeping with stockings are over now, and my children have very different lives. I’ll see one of them briefly over Christmas and the other in the New Year, and that’s fine; I’m proud that I gave them the ambition to fly. I will spend the day at my parents who are utterly brilliant and make sure Christmas is great every year.
People have come and gone, but for various reasons few shared Christmas. So I have always had a little hope that one day I will have that shared Christmas morning experience. That I can wake up with someone ready to enjoy a day together. I don’t ever want sympathy, that is just how my life has panned out, but I always hope that people understand that for some Christmas is difficult. It’s a reminder of what you haven’t got as much as what you have got. It’s a reminder that life is a bit different for you.
Everyone’s houses look lovely and I like seeing people happy and the world a bit glittery, especially when the world at large seems to be caving in. But it is always tinged with a slight feeling of failure, a failure to have someone to share it all with. I always have hope that next year will be different, that next year I will be somewhere else or doing something else. I always have hope, just that when I hit December every year, the hope has been knocked a bit. But I guess we are in charge of our own destiny.
I’m not writing this for sympathy or attention, just because there are people out there who are going through the same sorts of things I did and am now. I just want you to know that you are not alone…you are never alone. I’ll metaphorically stroke your hand and give you a knowing nod. And if you are a single parent on their own right now, I massively salute you. You will do it, like you do every day of your life, because you are amazing.
Sarah Millican does the amazing #joinin at Christmas on Twitter. It really is worth dipping into. It’s funny and hopeful and just kind. If you are struggling at Christmas really do give it a look. Or talk to me, I’ll be about at the end of a screen…I always am.