Yay! Christmas Week has arrived! Christmas Day is fastly approaching *woo hoo* and there’s lots to look forward to here on Book Chick City. So sit back with a glass of mulled wine and a delicious mince pie and enjoy!

When I was young, Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. My mother’s side of the family’s Jewish, but my father’s side’s Christian, so we celebrated Christmas. All of my Christmas memories have a golden glow and magical feel. They’re the best and brightest memories of my childhood. The house was full of laughter and fun. Every year my parents invited people to join our families celebration, who would otherwise spend the holidays alone (One time I recall it being a homeless man, may have been more than once though). I always thought it was a nice thing they did, but I never considered how much it may have meant to those people until many years later.

At the end of 1999, I got separated from my children’s father and shortly there after my parents moved away. By summer 2000 the divorce was final. At 23, I became a single mother of two (ages 6 & 2). The decision to end the marriage had been mine, but it was still a hard time, especially with my parents gone. I’d been with their father for eight years and had never been completely on my own. My eldest had a harder time of it than her younger sister. The eldest was Daddy’s girl; while lil’est was Mama’s girl, rarely leaving my side.

At Christmas, I did my best to make golden memories for my girls. To the best of my ability I stuck with the traditions they were accustom to and tried to compensate for the difficult year we’d had.

My Fairy God Mother, Roey had us over for Christmas Eve dinner. (I call her that because she always popped up right when I needed her and I don’t know how I’d have gotten through without her. She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known.) We had a terrific time and the girls even got a call from Santa while we were there. Then I stayed up most of the night wrapping presents and preparing for Christmas morning.

My Ex and I agreed to an arrangement to alternated years; one of us had them for Christmas Eve and morning – the other had them the rest of the day. I thought I was prepared and strong enough. I had no idea how wrong I was.

After we opened presents on Christmas morning it was time to take them to their Father. As soon as we got there my eldest dove out of the car and went running into the house yelling “Merry Christmas, Daddy.” My little one however, began crying and holding onto her car seat buckle. When I finally got her out of the car she wrapped her arms around my neck and sobbed, “Mommy don’t leave me.” My heart shattered and it took all I had to walk into that house. Her Father came over and I tried to hand her over. She started screaming “No want Daddy! Stay with Mommy!” I blinked back tears and promised her I’d be back soon.

We finally got her to let go and I practically ran out the door with tears streaming down my face. Just as I reached the car she came running out hysterically screaming, “Mommy, no leave! I go with Mommy!” He ran out and dragged my crying, screaming baby back into the house. I thought my heart was permanently broke.

I was driving back home still sobbing and feeling lost, when my cell rang. It was my friend, Christy calling to ask how it’d gone. Telling her about it I got so upset, I had to pull off to the side of the road. She begged me to come to her mother’s house and spend the day with her family. I just wanted to go home and cry until it didn’t hurt anymore, but her mother got on the phone and told me that if I didn’t head straight over they would come to my apartment and drag me out. So I turned the car around and headed there.

When I pulled up to the house her entire family came out. Christy opened my car door and dove half in, hugging me and crying with me, for a while. Then every single person in her family also gave me a hug. I felt so loved. Inside the house I was put to work helping cook, to get my mind off of it. After a time, my heavy heart began to lighten. It ended up being a good day with great food and even better company.

It was the hardest Christmas of my life, but the love and caring of both Roey and Christy’s families helped me get through it. They took me into their homes and hearts. It is still hard to think about that morning, but thanks to my wonderful friends, who were there when I needed them most – it is also a cherished memory. I am eternally grateful to them and their families. They showed the true spirit of the season, on Christmas 2000. Its the best gift I’ve ever been given and I hope to someday be able to pass that gift on to someone else.

This holiday season, if you know someone with nowhere else to go or who’s having a hard time, invite them over. Give them the irreplaceable gift of friendship, caring and love. You may just be saving them the way my parents did for a different person every year and my friends did for me. There is no better gift you can give. Believe me – I know.

Heather
Book Obsessed

Carolyn

Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!

6 Comments


Mardel December 25, 2009 at 6:45 am

Geez, that was such a sad story. I almost told my husband to leave one year, because every Christmas he would get very angry and mean to everyone. I'm glad we ended up trying – because he made an effort to stay nice- turned out it was bad Christmas memories. I pointed out to him that he was making his own kids have bad Christmas memories too, and that's what finally sank in for him. He's made an effort every year since then to be pleasant during Christmas. I know it's been hard for him.

I can't imagine what it would have been like if we had actually separated or divorced. We had four kids. It would have been pretty bad. I don't think I could take sending my kids away for Christmas. You're blessed with the support you had.

My sister and I were two kids who had to leave our mom every Christmas – not only our mom but our younger brothers (different dads). It was hard, because we wanted to see our dad, but then we knew our mom and brothers were sad that we weren't there. Life get's pretty messy sometimes, and it's friends that make things livable.

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thetruebookaddict December 25, 2009 at 8:36 am

What a wonderful story Heather…thank you for sharing. My husband and I are going through a very difficult time and it's starting to look like we may be headed for divorce. I dread how my sons will deal with it (they are 8 and 7). Merry Christmas to you!

And Merry Christmas to you Caroline!

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hcmurdoch December 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Your story felt so real to me as I have, over the past 5 years, taken my daughter to her dad's with her wailing. However, that's a rare event now. Good friends are amazing. Happy Holidays!

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SusiSunshine December 25, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Such a sad story but I'm lucky you had people who took you in!
Okay I admit it, the story made me cry, again! Not good at work!
Hope this xmas is much better for you.
*hugs*
Frohe Weihnachten!

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Alexia561 December 26, 2009 at 1:40 am

What a powerful story! So glad that you had loving friends to help you get through the day. Hope the holidays are easier for you now. Happy Christmas to you and your girls!

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BookObsessed December 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Thank you everyone! My Christmases are so much better now than they were then. Over the years I found ways to get the most out of the time I had with them & eventually it wasn't so hard to get them to go over there. They are both old enough now that they get to pick where they want to be when and for how long, so for me it is even better now, because I get more time with them. The other great thing is that they have no memory that it was the day after Xmas that we originally got seperated – so the holidays don't remind them of it.

Mardel, I am glad that you and your husband we able to work it out and him making that effort is a truly wonderful gift he is giving both you and your children.

Thank you all!
~Heather

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