This is my first Christmas morning without the kids. Either my bodyclock has naturally adjusted over the last seven years or I drank too much last night - because I haven't been able to sleep properly and so I got up at 6am and started the washing up.
Over the last couple of weeks when I've told people I'm not having the boys for Christmas day I get two questions:
1. Is this your first Christmas without them?
2. How are you feeling about that?
(The second question is asked with a sympathetic head tilt or small frown.)
Yes, it is my first Christmas without them. I'm not sure if that is supposed to make it worse or better. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a big fan of the novelty factor, and to be honest, it being the first one actually makes it a bit easier. I've not been sure how I was going to feel or what it was going to be like so I've pretty much sat back and gone with the flow.
Christmas Eve is my favourite night of the year. It feels really magical, watching the kids get so excited, listening to Christmas songs on the radio, all the preparation and anticipation... And yesterday did feel a little odd, not putting the boys to bed and then yelling at them that if Father Christmas won't come if they don't go to sleep.
Instead, we went to the pub, met up with old friends and I got sloshed. Very grown up Christmas.
A few people have said that they would never be able to let their ex have their kids on Christmas. I can understand it, and maybe this makes me a totally crap parent but - I am actually not upset or down about it.
I also don't want to be the kind of single parent who jealously guards Christmas time with the kids. He is their Dad, and he has much right to spend Christmas Day with them as I do.
I've spoken to the boys this morning on the phone, and they're really excited about coming home tomorrow to more presents, and they're excited about Christmas Day with their Dad. Meanwhile I have been thoroughly spoiled by my fabulous boyfriend, and have had a perfectly lazy and relaxed start to the day.
I knew this Christmas was going to be different and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it. But so far, it is still just as magical for me. Christmas is about the kids, yes, but it's also about the grown ups. I am embracing my lovely day with my gorgeous partner and entertaining his Mum, something I am really looking forward to. And, as it's ten past twelve, and I don't have to worry about being too responsible, AND the nasty after effects of last nights festivities have totally worn off, I'm going to have a glass of wine.
Merry Christmas to you all!