Divorce is never going to be easy for any of the parties involved - especially if children are part of the equation. Divorce is linked with a huge number of negative effects on children; not only the stress and anxiety of going through a period of severe change, but also a decline in exam results and even negative effects on health.
It breaks my heart to think that if she finds out Santa is made up then God and Jesus will go with him. I couldn't handle that because my jaded, patchy grown-up's faith is so strengthened by her perfect child-like one. At this time of year I need that more than ever; I honestly don't know how people survive Christmas without Christ.
Religion is actually a very beautiful philosophy. It is sad that these days, the world is so polarised, over-sensitised, fearful, filled with irrational hatred and cowed by political correctness when it comes to religion. I had to think twice before writing this, so conditioned am I into thinking that the r-word is a tinderbox that could incite a large, destructive flame.
Having been one of those parents who had practiced this many times, until someone gently pointed out how I was coming across, I've now stopped. This one time I'm talking about is when I've said 'I'm sorry' but what I really wanted was relief from my own uncomfortable feelings of being a dysfunctional parent or to be allayed of my guilt.
I used to vex about how happy my children were, and still do sometimes, but with experience I've come to realise that their fundamental needs are very simple. They want to be heard, loved and given some special time. If I give them these three things every day, they thrive. So I do everything I can to ensure I make that happen and I know I'm investing in their happiness.
I remember a work colleague of mine from some years ago, who regularly told me that work was easier than looking after his kids. "The office is a break for me," he used to say, "I'm heading home now to the real job". I didn't have children at the time and I assumed he was exaggerating. In fact, as the work we were doing at the time was very challenging, I thought it was a form of self-praise - a humble-brag of sorts.