Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK have divorced parents and I'm one of them. The majority of the year I don't even think about the fact that my parents live in different houses with different people. After all, it's been that way for the last 15 years. But at Christmas time their separation is suddenly significant.
It's been over a year now and, as I hoped and feared, it's been the most fun/interesting/terrifying year I've had for a few decades. On the whole, it would have been cheaper to buy a sportscar and less time-consuming to have an affair with a 25 year old, but, as I can't drive and am happy with my fella, this 45 year old's mid-life crisis is a "follow your dream" business startup.
In my house I am made to feel like the biggest nag in the world suggesting a family dinner round the table - by all five of my men! My two eldest tell me that 'it's boring' sitting at the table. My four year old contests just because that seems the thing to do and hey, if his big brothers are saying it then it must be right.
If you've been dating someone new for the past few months, chances are that you'll be meeting their family this holiday season. Meeting the parents (and the grandparents, and the siblings and the family friends....) is always nerve-wracking and there seems to be even more pressure to make a good impression this time of year. Here are four ways to make a great first impression this holiday season.
They are going to be feeling frustrated, confused and completely overwhelmed sometimes if not most of the time so it is important that you know some hurtful things that they say to you, they do not mean so don't take it too personally as it is just the illness talking and they will most likely apologise sincerely for it sometime after it has been said.
Gradually as I began to get better, you would read aloud longer passages and poems to me as you had done when I was a child. You had always kept a commonplace book of snippets of poetry, prayer and anecdotes that had particularly struck you, entitled 'Consolations'. I devoured the collection as if it were ice-cold water offered to a parched traveller.
Making a teeny-tiny human is the greatest thing your brother/sister ever did. They didn't do it for you, obviously. But sometimes, in a perfect moment with your niece/nephew on your lap, it feels like maybe they kind-of did.When my nephew, Charlie, puts his little hand in mine, the whole world makes sense. His existence is joy.
They don't tell you about the friends she's had for years who gradually stop coming to visit because they 'hate seeing her like that'. I'm pretty sure she hates being 'like that' too, but she could really do with a friend. They'll all be at her funeral though, because that's what friends are for, isn't it?
I have secondary infertility, in other words I had fertility issues after my first child was born. She is now six. After five and a half years of numerous procedures, operations, four rounds of IVF, a miscarriage and ending up with a fairy godmother surrogate, I got my happy ending, my complete family.
Dad's world was simpler than mine. Those he considered cowards were bullies and wife beaters. His idiots were layabouts, the intentionally uneducated and the spineless. My cowards are racists and homophobes. My idiots are the intolerant and the close-minded. People too scared to even try and understand anything that makes them look at their own lives.
Everyone picks up bad habits in life as well as driving, it's inevitable, but when you have children it's important to make sure you're not making glaring mistakes on a regular basis. I suppose that what many people need to realise is that if for instance your child grows up watching you on your phone in the car then they'll believe that it is safe behaviour.