I have advice for anyone getting separated over the holidays.
If one of you suggests staying together over Christmas, for the family...DO NOT DO IT.
I learned this lesson the hard way, when Mr. Big announced he was leaving the family to set up house with The White Witch of Bermuda. Because she lived in Bermuda -- apparently she has a hotel there -- it would be months before The Witch could get packed and move to Ottawa, so Mr. Big did what most men do in such a situation.
He continued to stay with us.
I made him sleep in the basement and told the kids we slept apart because of his legendary snoring. Truth be told, I wanted him in my bed, but I realized once he'd taken up with the Witch, he no longer had a taste for Snow White.
So in an effort to protect my aching heart, Big became a cellar dweller.
I tried to get him to move, but he was in no hurry.
On Sundays, he would cheerfully smear jam on his toast and check the rentals. This went on for months. Finally, in November, he found himself a little pied a terre down the street. Really, it was a mouse infested dump but he didn't care; he was waiting for his sweetheart, who would not be arriving until the next April.
I figured I had a few months to change his mind.
Big called me one day and asked me to come over with the kids. I guess I was hoping that The Witch had chickened out. I mean, what heiress wants to give up Bermuda for cold and friendless Ottawa.?
Especially a wrinkled old crone who wore beehive hairdos. Did I mention she was a decade older than me? The society mavens would have her for breakfast.
So when I got the call to come over, I spruced up, wore my most fetchng outfit and prepared to bedazzle him.
But afternoon delight was not on his mind.
Big wanted me to help him hang his blinds.
And I did.
Before you roll your eyes, remember the boy that you loved more than life itself in high school? Or the hero in a Nora Ephron piece? That was Big for me. I was head over heels chemically and hormonally attached to the guy.
Just like Carrie in Sex in the City.
In a word, I was insane.
The little farce went on and on. We got along alright, so we decided to spend Christmas together at his mother's estate up near Tremblant. I had, just the year before, lost my mother and I didn't have any close relatives or friends, as life with Big had become pretty isolating.
I yearned for a family Christmas and secretly hoped he would have an epiphany.
What a mistake.
First, I hated his mother. She was a cruel, cold wretch of a woman who dedicated her life to making other people feel small. I'm not exaggerating. Ask the children. To them, she was the old lady in the gingerbread house who doled out sugar and but secretly dreamed of eating their livers with fava beans and a nice Chianti. They were terrified of her.
Big's dad was the opposite. He was a sweet but spineless man who made prank calls, spent a good deal of time in the wine cellar and got his jollies going to massage parlours.
He was also a bit of a sicko who bought his daughter silk undies and talked about his penis.
Grandpapa was no saint, but he was the dad I never had and I desperately wanted to be with him at Christmas.
Once we arrived, we went to our separate corners.
Big took the kids out on their sleighs and morphed into the Greatest Dad in the World. I sat in the bedroom crying. The parents spent the time eating bagette and drinking wine, pretending their world wasn't about to implode.
On Christmas Day, Big gave me a watch. It was truly the ugliest piece of jewelry I ever received. It was neon green and looked like something he might have bought at the Green Dragon. My heart sank.
It was pretty clear he wasn't into me anymore.
We departed Tremblant two days later. He drove us to our large home in Orleans. He drove himself to the airport to spend three weeks on the beach sucking oysters out from in-between The Witch's toes.
Or so I imagined.
When I got back to town, I found an AMEX bill for $1,200 for earrings and necklace from an expensive Toronto shop. I had received neither.
I looked at my Christmas watch woefully and noticed the second hand had broken off.
It was a sign.
A sign of my own stupidity and gullibility.
Twenty years later, Big and the Witch are still together, living their creepy life somewhere in rural Quebec raising horses. I hear the Witch puts her dead cats in the freezer and wanks her dog.
Snow White spent a decade in sad slumber but miraculously, one day, was kissed by a handsome prince.
She married the prince but instructed him to never buy her jewelry.
This Christmas the kids will come by and our family will watch premium cable, eat good food, and be generally nice to each other.
The World's Greatest Dad hasn't spoken to the kids in a couple years.
That's not exactly correct.
My daughter got a call from him a couple months back.
He was looking for someone named Nancy and had hit the wrong button on his speed dial.
I'm telling you this, as a cautionary tale, all you were are newly separated.
Never let the adulterer take you to a second location, especially the in-laws. Don't be fooled. The Greatest Dad in the World is just an act.
Let him have the kids for Christmas.
Got to Vegas. Live it up.
Ride a nasty pony.
Don't do what I did. Don't be a chump.
He's never coming back. You might as well accept it.