When you’re divorced, Christmas is seldom like it was pre-divorce. Sometimes though, it’s pretty close. 2016 was the third post separation/divorce Christmas for us. Admittedly, the first one was hard. We each had Christmas at our own place and Juston shared the day with us both. Last year we had a pretty normal Christmas, all things considered. I cooked breakfast, Scott (the ex) and Juston came over and we ate, opened presents, and hung out a while at my house. Nothing weird, just a different version of family. It was nice and I think it was appreciated by Juston.
This year takes the cake. Enter random girlfriend. I met said girlfriend, Ann, rather unexpectedly while dropping off my sweetest puppy Daphne and picking up Juston at Scott’s house before our trip to PA. She popped out from the living room like the squirrel in the Griswold Christmas tree. No big deal. A little awkward, but she seemed nice enough.
A couple of things she said gave me pause. First of all she asked if there was anything “they needed to do with Daphne.” It may not seem strange, but Daphne was Scott’s dog as well before the divorce and he knows how to care for her. Odd. That was followed up with Ann telling me he [Scott] is a good guy (agree) and she really had feelings for him.
<Inner monologue> Thanks for the overshare. You do realize I’m the ex-wife, right? It seemed rather contrived or rehearsed, but whatever. She seemed nice enough. Serious, but nice.
Juston packed the car and we left the house. I completely forgot to tell Scott about Christmas, so I texted him. He seemed hesitant, so being the nice person I am I told him that if he needed he could bring Ann. He said he’d get back to me. Good enough.
Juston and I are pretty close and he rarely holds his thoughts. I asked him about Ann. He said he met her much the same way I met her moments ago. Admittedly, that kind of made me angry. I thought it could have been handled a little better. But he seemed okay with her, and so I was good. I did chuckle to myself when Juston said he liked Ann okay, but he didn’t think this relationship was going anywhere because she was too clingy and his dad did not look pleased. Huh.
That was the last I thought of it until the day before Christmas when I was getting stuff ready to cook. You gotta know how many people are coming so you know how much to cook, you know? I spoke to Juston and asked if his dad was coming. I was thinking that although I invited Ann, they’re both adults and one of them would have enough common sense to realize that Juston may not appreciate the awkward group Christmas. Thinking surely she would stay home for a few hours was my mistake. Clearly, I was the only one to think this was weird.
Fast forward to Christmas morning. Juston arrives early to help me cook and set up. I ask him how it’s going. By now I suspect that Ann is living at the house. According to Juston she is always there, and he wishes that he could just hang out with his dad sans Ann. Hmmmm. Again, these are two adults that should realize the awkwardness of this situation and one of them (Scott, if not Ann) should say maybe Ann needs to vacate for a few hours, or days, so Scott and Juston can hang out. It’s not like he’s home often. Nevertheless, Juston seems okay with her, so there’s not much to say. Honestly, it’s really not my business what Scott does and as long as it makes him happy and he and Juston are good, I’m good.
About an hour later Scott and Ann roll up on the motorcycle. I’ve got gifts for Juston and Scott, and a small gift for Ann since it’s rude to open presents in front of people. Hilarity ensues, on the inside of course.
In a scene from a movie, or worse, the show Punk’d, I set to entertain Ann. Keep in mind that I met this woman only a week before for about 5 minutes. Juston and I were furiously working to get breakfast on the table. The milk punch, a toothsome alcoholic concoction from Garden and Gun, was freely flowing and by then I had a teensy buzz. In an effort to avoid uncomfortable silence, I tried making conversation. Try being the key word here.
She tells me her son is 27. To which I reply that she must miss him. Rather than say “of course I miss him!” like any mother would, she tells me he lives in Korea and delivers a speech about how proud she and his dad are of him, what a great opportunity it is, and how successful he is and blah, blah, blah. I look at her quizzically. This is about the fifth time she’s given me the salesman or politician pitch to a question and never really answered the question. Okaaaay. So odd. <Danger! Warning, Will Robinson> Before long this is just one in a series of uncomfortable conversations had that morning.
I’ve got a black belt in sarcasm and try to keep the mood light. Unfortunately, while Scott and Juston are fluid in sarcasm and can freely joke around, Ann not so much. The Griswold family Christmas breakfast continued and Cousin Eddie, I mean Ann, had me feeling like Clark Griswold.
We opened gifts. Juston got a plane ticket to Vegas plus some small things and Santa filled not one, but two stockings for him. Scott opened his three framed photos of Juston, which he loved. And Ann oohed over her Beekman 1802 soap and chapstick. My gifts were equally as wonderful. Juston gave me a good-looking pair of Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses and Scott gave me a gift card.
Ann’s gift was the best of all.
Sitting there doe eyed, she proceeded to tell me that meeting Scott was such a good thing and that she was the luckiest person to have met someone so caring and wonderful and that he was her gift. Scott’s face was priceless. Maybe that was the gift? Is this a MasterCard commercial? Ok Ashton Kutcher, you can come out now. Yup, this was the gift that keeps giving the whole year and so much better than a jelly of the month club.
<Inner monologue again> Geez woman! Seriously. You do realize that I’m the ex-wife, as in the person that was once married to this guy? I’m happy for you, but I don’t need to listen to you gush over him. I know I gave you soap, but we’re not girlfriends!
At one point we were outside playing with the dogs and the guys were talking about watching football and who was playing. I don’t do football. My sports quota was met during my 17 years of marriage. Ann looked surprised. I told her that I watch the Food Network and the Cooking channel and my sport is eating. “Really?” Obviously she didn’t get it. Eyes wide, all I could think was how much effort it was to have a conversation with her.
The day continued much the same until they rode off in the sun on the motorcycle. Juston stayed behind to help me clean up the house. He’s such a good kid and we did a great job raising him.
I queried Juston about what he thought of the morning. He said it was a little weird and he wished that she had not come to breakfast. He was heading back to the house to watch football and later that day he was cooking dinner for them, Ann included. My hope was that it didn’t turn into a Griswold family Christmas dinner.