'If you are on your own on Christmas Day, you can't candy-coat the fact that something has gone wrong in your life'
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Usually, come Christmas morning — well, 4am to be precise — I’m woken by the squealing of over-excited children and the tell-tale rip of paper. I can hear every ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ as my 12, nine and five-year-olds open the sack of presents Father Christmas has left them.
Last year, the high point was when my five-year-old daughter unwrapped her Barbie pony. It was a toy I’d also had as a child, so seeing her at the side of my bed, clutching it with eyes like saucers, was one of those moments that make all the boring bits of motherhood — the cooking, the cleaning, the battles over homework — worthwhile.
This year it will be different. There will be no happy squeals, no little feet thundering up and down the hall. No huge, messy pile of wrapping paper. Instead, there will be just me and silence. Oh, and the dog.
That’s because for the first time ever, I will be waking up on Christmas Day without my children.
If I assembled my family, both my exes’ families plus my three siblings’ partners’ families, I’d need Wembley Stadium to fit them all in. And that’s if they’d agree to be in the same place at the same time.
Their fathers will hover awkwardly as we say Merry Christmas.