This Christmas will be my FIRST without my daughter. She is eleven, my only child and person I share daily life with; she will be going to spend Christmas with her father. I say this for context, not because it’s sad or I’m feeling woeful.
I know I am not alone. It will also be the first for thousands of children and parents the world over in families where both parents are no longer together.
Circumstantially, the means by which we are each without will vary widely. For some, it’s utter heartbreak. Others, myself included, it’s something we’re 95% prepared for but about which there lies a degree of uncertainty about how we’ll fare.
This was not a post I planned writing for two reasons:
Firstly, because as I mentioned, I’m feeling settled about the whole situation. It’s been on the cards since before last Christmas and I’m used to being without my daughter by now (sometimes for weeks), so in many ways, it’s ‘not a biggy’. As such, I didn’t feel the need to do anything to prepare myself mentally for it.
Secondly, because I’m normally a bit of a stoic and would rather go quietly through the process, come out the other side then perhaps mention in the future if I feel to.
What changed was an inner voice I had whilst feeling fantastic, cycling full tilt to ‘Titanium’ on Monday morning which said “maybe you ought to be a little bit more deliberate about your approach this week. Yes, you feel fine about it, but what about that 5% you’re not sure about.”
I decided to respond, the 5% has blind-sided me in the past and it couldn’t hurt.
This post is because I suspect others are going through a similar thing and so, very simply, here’s what I’ve decided to do.
1. Acknowledge the 5%.
The 5% of myself which is unsure about how I’ll be on the day. Rather than NOT acknowledging it and just going through this week thinking ‘I’ll be fine’, I am holding space within for that 5%. Recognising and shining light on the unknown is often enough to lessen any power it may hold over us and, I already feel more confident for having done so.
2. Make time for those things which are empowering.
For me, it’s exercise and study which I do regularly anyway, but I may have done less of given it’s Christmas week. Making a conscious decision to do what I can daily to feel empowered means I’m in a fully-charged positive state, increasing my emotional immunity.
3. Be present.
Something I’ve been practising this past year, but best practices can fall by the way when we are out of routine. Being present means no pointless thinking about the future, be that the next few hours or days. It means conscious awareness of all that is happening right now in this moment. Therefore, I am open enough to give and receive the stuff that matters like a hug with Miss P in the lift whilst Christmas shopping. Appreciating the moments this week, has already yielded genuine joy that only comes from being all here, now.
That’s it, that and my continual gratitude for the life we have. Miss P couldn’t be happier going to spend Christmas with Dad and his lovely family, and I’ll be with mine. This situation is non-comparable to those facing tragic pains at this time of the year but it will be true for so many we all know. Those of you facing similar circumstances this Christmas, you are not alone! Handle it your own way, and be encouraged that the energy we put out never fails to return.
Wishing you a beautiful Christmas.