This is the Christmas I fully exhaled.
I am single again. It has been six months since the man who was living here returned to his other country. I have found my feet and my soul. Bits of Real Ann are returning with the help of my daughters, grand daughters, and the best tribe of friends you can ever imagine.
I am surrounded by love and thankful to my very core for all the gifts in my life.
Christmas is upon me and I start with my preparations, deliriously happy in my single status.
I wrestle the tree off the car — on my own. I strong arm it into its stand — on my own. I push it through the front door — on my own. I drag it carefully on an area rug to the spot it goes to in front of my living room window — on my own. And I proceed to decorate it with all my daughter’s ornaments — on my own.
My Christmas tree is back. It looks just like it’s supposed to. There is no interloper into Christmas this year whining about my decorations, complaining that I am pulling my past into his present — never understanding he was cutting out pieces of my heart and dishonoring my life with his attitude.
I am free now. Alone is not alone. Alone feels strong. Alone feels like me finding my heart again. Alone is where the noise stops and The Universe begins to speak. Alone feels like peace.
And I will never, ever go back to that other place.
The best gifts do not come from stores. Sometimes they are the gifts we give ourselves. Christmas 2013 — I gave myself the gifts of self respect, courage, and peace. And I gave the man who left gifts as well. For surely he is in a better, happier place.