Last Christmas

Today, I took my Christmas tree down.

I managed every bauble, bit of tinsel, special decoration, and the fairy lights, which seem to have the ability to become entangled even when on the tree.

I looked up to the top of our seven foot tree and noticed the star sitting atop it.

I couldn’t reach. As much as I tried – tippy toes, jumping, I couldn’t reach.

I reached up and started to lean the tree towards me. Bring that tree down to my level. But I lost my balance and it fell on top of me.

I sat on the floor. And burst into tears. As I saw the star lying on the ground.

It didn’t hurt. At least not physically.

It hurt because, this is my life now.

I’ll always have to reach on tippy toes. Struggle with jam jars. And remember to lock the doors at night.

On Boxing Day, after months of trying, Stephen and I called it a day and ended our relationship.

I’m a single mum.

I’ve hidden away for the past few days. Preferring not to talk about it. Choosing to hide from it. Choosing pyjamas over anything else. Watching the dark circles emerge and my skin break-out from stress.

Turning up to my grandparents’ Boxing Day festivities, minus one, was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever had to do. I barely made it there. Needing a friend on the phone to coax me on my way. Taking deep breaths on the pavement and trying not to panic.

My family were nothing but supportive. Consistent as always.

My friends have been the people I’ve turned to the most, because their worry and concern are simpler.

Sometimes, the love I feel from people leaves me scratching at the walls. Claustrophobic.

Because I’ve found it hard to talk about. I don’t really want to discuss my feelings too much. I don’t want to break down and cry. I don’t want to be pitied. Or worried about. Or cared for. That’s usually my role in situations like this.

The mutual decision makes it a small blessing. At least hearts weren’t broken in a traditional way.

I suppose I’m heartbroken all the same though.

I let my son down.

I’ve robbed him of a family. A family that I assumed was so important to a happy childhood, up until recently.

I wanted him to have a father to run around a football pitch with, with a mother who would scoop him up if he tripped and fell. We’d walk home, him between us, swinging him in the air. And I’d make us a roast dinner, which we eat around the table together, laughing.

I know, deep down, that having two parents, in love, doesn’t equal a happy family by default. As plenty of people have told me. But I still feel like I’ve robbed him of something.

I’m frightened that I won’t manage the mortgage on my own. That I’ll have to ask for help. I’m worried that I’ll struggle with William, and I’ll find the transition hard, even though work has always meant that Stephen and I spent a lot of time singularly parenting anyway. I worry that I can’t give William jam on toast for breakfast, if i can’t open the jar.

I worry I’ll be alone.

I’m sad for the children I might not have. I’m sad for the love I might not find.

And I hope my son knows that his parents didn’t do this to hurt him, steal from him, or ruin his life. I hope he knows that I wish his father well, and I’ll never stand between them.

I hope he knows that, even when I’m as frightened as anything, I’ll always love him and I’ll always put him first.

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  • Reply
    29th December 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Charlotte, Having followed your blog from when William was born, it has to be said I was stunned when I read your post. I had no idea from your previous posts that all wasn't well in your relationship. We will all understand if you take a break from blogging to sort out your emotions and the practical side of your new life and will be thinking of you too x

  • Reply
    Alison Perry
    29th December 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Lovely Charlotte. I think you will discover how strong you are in the coming months. And you're not robbing W of having a father – he still has a daddy who loves him and a mummy who loves him. Sending you lots of love and strength and happiness xxxx

  • Reply
    29th December 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Oh I am sorry to hear this for all your sakes, and because however right a decision it is you're still allowed to grieve the future dreams that won't be. Your little boy has a Mummy and a Daddy who adore him, the rest is just logistics.

  • Reply
    Harriet Jones
    29th December 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Oh Charl, I have to admit I was worried about where you were after no twitter updates or instagram posts from you in a few days (even though that makes me sound like an absolute stalker!) William will not miss out at all, I speak from experience, he has 2 parents who adore him completely. You are so strong and I know you'll get through this. Sending you a huge hug! xxx

  • Reply
    Bex @ The Mummy Adventure
    29th December 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Charlotte I am so sorry to hear that you have had such a difficult Christmas but William still has two parents that love him and really that is the most important thing. x x x

  • Reply
    29th December 2013 at 9:16 pm

    You have not failed as a mother, it is better for William to have you both happy even if that means apart. I wish I could give you a hug my dear, I know this will be a tough time for you but you'll get through. Xxo

  • Reply
    Helen - sittinginthekitchensink
    29th December 2013 at 9:41 pm

    So sorry to hear this – sending you lots of strength, positive thoughts and love. xxxx

  • Reply
    Laurenne @ This Mummy
    29th December 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Sending a big hug Charlotte. You didn't let William down, knowing you both love him and going about your split amicably is the best thing you can do for him if things weren't working out. Sending love and strength for the next few weeks but you are one amazing mama so I know you'll be just fine 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Nadine Thomas
    29th December 2013 at 9:52 pm

    You haven't failed anyone. Sending you hugs and strength to get through this. One day at a time, baby steps. x

  • Reply
    Becca Watts
    29th December 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Thinking of you all, big hugs x

  • Reply
    29th December 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I just wanted to say that it's okay to let people support you in whatever way might help you and it's alright to be on the receiving end of some of that love, care and kindness you are usually the one dishing out. There are no rules and I hope you can be kind to yourself at this difficult time and allow yourself to be on the receiving end of others' love and compassion x

  • Reply
    Oh so amelia
    29th December 2013 at 11:51 pm

    So sorry to hear this. You have not failed at all! I wish you all the happiness in the future and William will understand when he's old enough to do so. Sending big hugs xxx

  • Reply
    Janie P
    29th December 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I've followed your blog for the past few months and my heart has been breaking for you losing Max, and I am so very sorry to hear that you're having to deal with this this. You must know that William will always been the most loved little boy, that shines out from everything you write, & I'm sure all he will ever remember was how much his parents love him. Please be kind to yourself over the next few months. (& marmite jars are always easier to open) xx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 2:12 am

    Stay strong! Thank you for being so honest. A dear friend recently went through a divorce and she came over one day and I just let her cry in my floor as she had a drink. She cried for almost 24 hours straight but felt so much better afterwards. Do what you need to do to make yourself feel better. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family.

  • Reply
    Karen BubbaBabble
    30th December 2013 at 8:20 am

    You are a supermum of mums. Your boy is loved and will not feel anything but love from his parents. Don't worry about a future of 'what ifs' as life is surprising and you never know how it'll turn out. Rest up, snuggle up and be kind to yourself. Sending you a virtual hug.

  • Reply
    Emma T
    30th December 2013 at 8:41 am

    Hugs. Yes, there'll be tough times, but you'll find a way to still do the things you want to for William. Best of wishes for the future for whatever it may bring.

  • Reply
    Danielle Askins
    30th December 2013 at 8:42 am

    Oh Charlotte I am so sorry to hear this, sending you hugs to get through the hard time. Xx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 10:25 am

    Oh sweet Charlotte, I understand your pain, there are days where I have been on my own with my babies, days when I was not sure the Mr would be coming back, although you are a single mum you are not a mummy alone, William has his Daddy, that will not change, and you have from what you talk about a very strong family network, I am a child of divorce, before the days it happened, it was the best thing my parents ever did for us, they were miserable and no matter how hard they tried to paint the stepford picture that was not the case, I feel I am a stronger, better person for my parents splitting, yes it changed a family dynamic but it also gave me 4 parents, I love my step parents, they have been my rock just as much as my parents, they have helped me in times of need and have told me things would be ok.
    You are an AWESOME Mummy, that will not change and trust me you will open the jam and if you can't buy squeezy, there is always a way, I promise xxx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 11:00 am

    You are so brave Charlotte and I think everyone can agree that you will be just fine (even if that's not what you want to hear right now). You are such an inspiration to many people, you certainly are to me! So keep your chin up and carry on being a fantastic mother to William because that's what he'll remember and thank you for when he's all grown up 🙂

    Bea x

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 11:03 am

    Was going to leave a comment last night, but you've been flooded with such lovely messages since anyway! You seem to have plenty of people around to support you and W, and I'm sure it'll get easier. I know it sounds daft, but it's an exciting opportunity for a new chapter of the blog and life – the challenges of being a single mum, and maybe even one day, finding love again! Good luck and chin up!

  • Reply
    Capture by Lucy
    30th December 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Oh darling don't be so hard on yourself, I am so so sorry to read this. You are a wonderful mother and you will give him all the love and support he needs, plus he will have a Daddy. Sending lots of love to get you through the next few months and beyond xxx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I'm so sorry you at having to go through this Charlotte it must have been a difficult Christmas for you. Please don't feel bad though, you are doing the right thing and ultimately you will all be happier. Hang in there, thinking of you xx

  • Reply
    Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    30th December 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Oh Charlotte, I'm so sorry to hear this. William will be just fine though as he has two parents who love him and there is nothing worse than staying together for the sake of your kids as they will know and it doesn't do any good at all. Hope you're okay xx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 4:10 pm

    So sorry to hear this Charlotte. I went through a similar thing last year & it was incredibly hard. I know it seems like the worst thing in the world. You think their childhood will be ruined & you'll never find love again but neither are true! He will have a much happier life knowing that his mum & dad both love him but aren't spending their lives arguing & resenting each other. My partner eventually moved back in again but those 6 months we were apart, my daughter & I were still really happy. You are stronger than you know & you will be fine. Most importantly William will be perfectly happy too xx

  • Reply
    Jess | Just Jesss
    30th December 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Oh Charlotte. I'm so sorry to hear this, beautiful. Chin up and keep smiling, I can't imagine how awful it will be for you at first but you'll get through it, and you'll always have your little fella to remind you how much everything is worth it.
    Trust me, you're not robbing him of anything except watching his parents try to make things work and grow to resent each other – it's so much better for you all this way, as much as it hurts at the moment, sometimes the right thing hurts the most.
    Sending you massive virtual cuddles and I'm always there if you do ever want a chat.
    Lots of love xxxxxx

  • Reply
    Kat R
    30th December 2013 at 8:32 pm

    So sorry to hear this, I'm thinking of you and William. You'll still be an absolutely fantastic mum and he will always know how much you love and care for him. Stay strong xxx

  • Reply
    Josie Hendrick
    30th December 2013 at 9:24 pm

    As someone who had parents that stayed together way longer than they should have I promise you that you have made the best decision for William. And you are way too gorgeous and lovely not to have an equally lovely life which I know you will have whether you choose to have a man in it and lots more babies or not. Lots and lots of love xxx

  • Reply
    30th December 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Don't worry about William's jam on toast. You can always open jars if you use this trick I learned from my grannie: hold a knife by the blade and gently hit the edge of the jar lid, going in the direction that the lid will open. Do this half a dozen times and the lid will loosen.

  • Reply
    Kerry Dyer
    31st December 2013 at 9:07 am

    Oh hun, you'll be great! you're strong and it is a very scary place but you have William and he has you, that is better than having unhappy parents. I'm sure he will know you did it for the right reason X

  • Reply
    Lottie Lomas
    31st December 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Charlotte, just discovered your blog through Mumsnet. Being a single parent is a shock at first, but believe me, you will be fine. You will be fine. And you will find love again. Am happy to chat, will help however I can. Find me on Twitter – I'll follow you so you can contact me if you like. Much love – happiness will follow, I promise. xxxx

  • Reply
    New Mum Online
    2nd January 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Sorry to hear this. You must have been very brave to make that decision, and you will continue to be brave. Stay open to intuition so that you know where your next steps may take you. Sending much love, Liska xx

  • Reply
    Netta Shalgi
    11th January 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I run into your blog for a different reason but I got your "Auto replay" and was totally stunned from what you wrote.
    I can write you many supportive words, as most of the people did, but something different in your story caught my eyes:
    It seemed to me that you are a great and strong woman. That you basically can do everything, or most of the things you want. You just forgot that for a few minutes.
    Take your time, it heals most of the stuff and enjoy as much as you can with your son and see that life would find their path back. You'll be able to open a jar, to reach your hand to a X-mas tree and do everything you need. Maybe, in a different way but you'll find your way in all that temporary mess.
    Wish you all the best, and happy and successful 2014!

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