The Christmas holiday came in the midst of what would soon become a very messy and excruciatingly long divorce. You see just months before, August to be exact, my husband of 19 years dumped me in an email, yes I did say an email. I had been living out of state with our middle child in order to pursue his acting career for a little over two years. It was during the planning of a visit home, the night before actually, that I received the horrible email that said “When you come in town you should stay somewhere else. I know this is not what you want to hear, but I no longer love you.” Then to make matters worse he requested that I hold off on starting the divorce until he could afford it. He recommended possibly after the first of the year. I called a lawyer a week later, and thirty days later he was served. Just prior to my meeting with the lawyer is when I found out the truth, the reason for this sudden loss of love, a wife’s biggest fear, another woman. But this would turn out to be more than just another woman, this was another family, another life and another home complete with pets and grandchildren. I had discovered that my husband had been living a double life for what looked like ten years. As the meetings with the lawyer progressed more and more information would be uncovered.
As the holiday’s were quickly approaching during this dreadful time we were forced to continue living in our family home. Since neither of us would give up the right of being “residential parent” the court had to arrange what they call a mediation session in order to teach us how to agree with each other and come to a mutual decision. So you can imagine how insane every day life would be being in the same house, but then throw in the holidays and you now have a complete mess! Ninety percent of the time when a couple is going through a divorce they separate first and live apart from each other, which makes it easier to get through all the pain and emotions that are associated with the circumstances. Not the case for me. Day in and day out I had to look at him, hear his voice, his laugh and some days it seemed like he was flaunting his presence. The worst of it was knowing when he was on the phone with her or knowing that he stopped by her place before coming home. It’s like I had this mistress being thrown in my face seven days a week for months. Every once in a while the family parrot would yell out her name as if calling for her. I realized not only was I betrayed by my husband but also the damn bird!! I wondered if the bird knows her that well is there more to this story that I am not aware of?
Thanksgiving came and went, he went to her house and I had the kids and family at our place. At this point the kids had only been told so much, they had no idea where he was really having dinner he had told them he would be at his brother’s but we all knew the truth. As the weeks went by so did countless arguments between the two of us usually about money or just a power trip and we both wanted to be the person with the power. A few weeks before Christmas the kids started telling us what they wanted for Christmas and I began asking my husband when I could meet up with him to do the shopping. I had asked him several times and was getting no response, yet he was telling the kids he had started the shopping. At this time in the divorce process the court had ruled he continue to support the kids, pay all the household bills, cars, utilities, etc and my groceries. I was to receive spousal support from him monthly to cover my expenses, clothing, gas for my car, etc. I have been a stay at home mom for twelve years and was under the impression he would purchase the gifts from both of us as he had done for the past 18 years. I was sadly mistaken. About two weeks before Christmas I received another troubling email, yes another email. What is it with this guy? he has no balls apparently and has to do all his dirty work via the internet. Anyway the email stated that any gifts he would purchase for the boys would be strictly from him and if I wanted to buy gifts for our kids I had to do it with my support money. Needless to say my initial reaction to this was rage which quickly turned into a deep depression. Christmas was my favorite holiday and there was no way I could afford a decent Christmas on what little money I had. I responded to his email and said “if this is how you want to play it then fine, but I’m telling the boys what you are doing.” And I did tell them and made sure they understood that even though their gifts would not also say from mom that they were from both of us as they always have been. Thankfully for me a family member came to my aid and I was able to shop for the kids and give them a decent Christmas.
So I made it through those frustrating weeks and Christmas Eve was here. I was so scared and nervous because I didn’t know how I would react. The kids went to bed and I put their gifts under the tree like we always did, while my husband kept the gifts he purchased in his room until Christmas morning. Ok, so I’m sure at this point you are wondering why the title is what it is, well it’s at this point in my story that you will understand. The kids were up bright and early Christmas morning. As I awoke I could already feel the butterflies in my stomach. I had feelings of fear and anxiety like never before. I went downstairs and took my normal place on the couch, my husband was sitting on the floor folding laundry! Who does laundry on Christmas morning? As I sat there looking at all the gifts that he purchased I couldn’t help but wonder where he had stored them prior to Christmas Eve. While the presents were being opened I started to notice a few things and as I did my heart began to race. The boxes that he had placed under the tree had been wrapped with care, a little too much care. The ribbons were made of cloth, there were cute little gift bags, and the wrapping paper was a little to pretty for three little kids. Some of the boxes that were opened had delivery information on them it was at this time that I realized he had all our kids gifts delivered to and stored at her house, or I should say their house. She had most likely wrapped them all and possibly even picked them out herself. My stomach was sick and at that moment I felt as if I would stop breathing. Somehow I made it through all the gifts being opened but then they went to the stockings. Placed inside each one was a bag of little mini marshmallows with a cute little saying about it being snowmen poop. They all looked at my husband with very puzzled looks. I could tell that they all knew just as I did that even though she was not physically there we were all having Christmas with his mistress.