15th December 2017
A thought-provoking delivery in the post this morning – a card from James’s cousin addressed to all four of us. Obviously, James has not told his family about our changed circumstances and it will be a surprise to them when they receive my card and only see three names on it. I wonder if I should have sent it?
It made me feel sad reading that card. It included a photograph of their new baby and I didn’t know that Lorna was expecting. It hit home that I’m not part of that family anymore and equally, James is not part of mine.
12th December 2017
I finally grabbed an hour tonight to write the rest of the Christmas cards. For the first time, I signed the cards from Rebecca, Lottie and Dylan – no James. I’m sure I’ll get a few texts when the post arrives in a day or two. Most people know but I’m sure this will prompt them to check in and it’s a good chance to organise some nights out between Christmas and New Year when the children are with James.
4th December 2017
It’s Lottie’s school play this afternoon and I’ll be seeing James for the first time since the roundtable. At least I know that we can be in the same room without it being awkward. Marilyn’s advice is that we focus on Lottie, well, as much as I can with Dylan bouncing on my knee! James and I should sit next to each other so that Lottie only has to search once to find us. She sometime still doesn’t understand why Daddy doesn’t live with us anymore so it’s important that for these activities that we present a united front. I can do this for her.
20th November 2017
Nothing is straightforward. Another call from James. This time to say that his parents want to see Lottie and Dylan on Christmas morning. In previous years they have been round before lunch but I hadn’t for one minute contemplated that they’d want to do the same this year. He even suggested that he pick up the children and take them to his parents for a few hours instead of coming to the house. They don’t exactly live around the corner and this will really disrupt the day for us all.
I called Marilyn for advice. She instantly understood my concern and her first thought was about the children and the impact on them. She suggested a compromise: that James sets up a family day with his parents on 27th – a second Christmas for the children when they’re with him. That way I won’t worry that either set of Grandparents will miss out too, Marilyn did mention that it is better in the long term to try as much as possible to keep the relationship with James’s parents as ‘normal’ as possible – they are still my children’s grandparents after all and it is important to me that they keep their relationship.
After talking everything over with Marilyn, I felt that I should invite James around first thing on Christmas Day to give the children his presents. He agreed to both suggestions! I feel that I’m beginning to understand how to mediate my way through some of these issues. An (almost) Christmas miracle indeed!
13th November 2017
James phoned to talk about Christmas today. I suppose with the Christmas adverts starting to appear on TV it’s prompted him to think about it. We’ve agreed that the children will be with me on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and that he will have them on the Wednesday to Saturday morning. I assume that James will be with Amelia on Christmas Day so maybe that’s why he was immediately amenable to them staying with me?
Whatever the reason, I’m happy. I couldn’t bear not to be with them on Christmas Day. My Mum and Dad will come over in the morning and we’ll have our usual festive G&T before taking Juno for a long walk and then having a late lunch. I’m actually looking forward to it now rather than being apprehensive about it.