First time readers, kindly read the first entry for October 27, 2012, when this story began:
* * * *
"His family will slap him into next week if he leaves you alone on Christmas," my friend insists.
I don't reply.
"Your daughter is spending 10 days with her dad and the rest of her break with her boyfriend's family," she continued. "I still don't understand how that happened."
"Her dad surprised her with plane tickets," I explained. "Cleveland's her home. All her friends are there."
"What about your step-mother? Doesn't she live in town?"
"She may be visiting one of her kids," I offered. "I honestly don't know."
"I'll have a 'not holiday,'" I said. "I'm used to it. I eat pasta in my pj's and watch Christmas movies on TV. I've done that many times."
"When you were dating someone?" she asks incredulously.
How do I admit I don't know the protocol since I haven't dated anyone for years?
"He may have to work Christmas Eve," I suggested. "We're doing something Saturday." I add, "Maybe we'll exchange gifts, then."
Her tone expresses her irritation, "Have you asked him if he's working?" Before I can answer she adds, "Are you sure he's getting you a gift?"
By this time I could tell she was questioning whether the mystery man actually exists. "He asked me what I wanted," I said. "I sent him the link to the website."
"That's romantic. Have you bought him a gift?" Her tone was flat. I could tell she was getting ready to tell me to "dump the loser and move on," before I went further into debt.
I didn't I tell her my former husband asked his mother to take me to the factory outlet store the years we spent Christmas with them, so I could pick out a flannel night gown, which I wrapped and placed beneath the tree. Neither did she know I'd spent my daughter's second Christmas alone in Cleveland, while he took her to North Carolina to see his parents, who wanted the opportunity to have their grand-daughter all to themselves without competition from her Mom.
"It's better that I don't put you on the phone to talk to her," he explained when I called. "Whenever she hears the "M" word, she cries. We can't even turn on the television."
I can do Christmas alone. I've had lots of practice.