True to our word, Christmas didn’t change just because there was no Santa. The years passed and we continued with our family traditions. And, even though both boys knew the truth now, we continued to not put the presents under the tree until after they went to bed on Christmas Eve. This added to the mystery and intrigue. But each year, “Santa” had to wait longer and longer before she could sneak into their rooms to fill their titbit stockings.
The boys never snooped either. Years later, I asked them if they did and was told, “No way, we loved the surprise and didn’t want to spoil things.”
And I knew it was true. I still took pleasure in seeing their eyes light up when they walked into the lounge room and saw the enormous tree with all the presents beneath it (and spread out across the room). How could anyone not be affected by the sight?
Then, everything changed. The marriage broke down and the boy’s father and I went our separate ways. This put an end to our traditional Christmas!
The first Christmas was the worst. I didn’t even see my boys because they had gone with their father to live in another country. What was the use of putting up a tree, let alone all the other decorations? Who cared about the turkey, the beef, the ham, the salads or any of the other food I would normally prepare? My family (meaning my parents and brother’s family) wanted to join me, but why wreck Christmas for three families instead of just one?
The tears I cried on Christmas morning were nothing in comparison to the tears I cried when the phone rang and I picked it up to hear my boys call out, “Merry Christmas, Mum!”
For a mother, a Christmas without her young children being present, is torture. I’ve happily pushed that sad day into a dark corner and will hopefully never experience such a day again.
Continued in Part 4