So, that's another Hallowe'en over.
Hallowe'en is one of the few times of the year that I really regret being in France. For the French, it's an excessively American, over-commercialised, devil-worshipping thing that is to be shunned at all costs. There are no special Hallowe'en candies to be found in shops, no one dresses up (OK, some people do, but you don't see people in the street), there's no tradition AT ALL for trick-or-treating and the whole thing is a bit of a damp squib to be honest. I really miss the fun of Hallowe'en in Britain...
That said, there's an English school just down the road that organises a free party for anyone who wants to turn up and, whilst it's undoubtedly chaotic, it IS free, so we always try and make an appearance. Plus, it's the only chance the girls get to dress up in Hallowe'en costumes...
This year (like last year, actually), C dressed up as a vampire bat, and L went as an actual vampire (I used her Zorro cape and painted her face - I was really proud of the result!). The party was more disorganised than ever this year, and none of the girls' friends were there, so it was a bit of a let down. The other kids - being more pushy than mine - grabbed most of the candy on offer, so C and L got virtually none, and the "costume catwalk" resulted in L sobbing again (not so much because she didn't win, but more because C won AGAIN (she wins something every year)).
For supper, I had pumpkin soup and chestnut mousse for dessert in an attempt at autumnal fare, but I don't know. It just doesn't feel like Hallowe'en here.
But now, it's over and all thoughts will be turned towards Christmas (as I write, C is trying to put together a cardboard nativity scene she found in a book...). And my stomach lurches.
Back in my "before" life, we always alternated Christmases: one year at my dad's in Scotland, one year here at home with D's mother visiting. Last year - our first Christmas as a separated couple - was a "D's mother visiting" year, so we stuck with that and all was well.
But this year is supposed to be a "at my dad's in Scotland" year and I feel kind of sick. I would very much like to go to Scotland. My dad would be thrilled if we came, and the girls are more than enthusiastic. But.
If I take the girls to Scotland for Christmas (and C's 10th birthday, on 27/12), D will be on his own. And, whilst I couldn't give a toss about him being alone (no skin off my nose), I know that it means that next year, he'll take the girls to Paris to be with his mother and I'll find myself totally alone for the entire holiday, and I don't think I could face that. I can't bear the thought of not being with my girls on Christmas day, on C's birthday.
So, I still haven't mentioned this problem to D, even though if flights are to be bought, they need to be bought now (it may already be too late for some cheaper options). I feel sick at the thought of discussing this with him because I know how he'll react, I know he'll get his revenge next year.
I'm still so angry with him. And I still can't understand why I have to be "punished" with not seeing my children at Christmas when he's the one who left, who walked out, who screwed up our family. I know that's a biased view (and one he most certainly doesn't share) but still.
I can try and reason with him that my dad is old (80!) and that there won't be many more opportunities for Christmas at his place; I can emphasise the fact that the girls want to go and that I'm the one dragging my feet (on HIS behalf); I can explain that my cousin wants to take them to Glenshee to try skiing for the first time; I can say that we'll make the trip as short as possible so he can spend the rest of the time with them. But it won't cut it, I know it won't. He'll seek revenge, and it will be terrible (for me).
I don't care that he might have to spend Christmas eve, Christmas day and C's birthday on his own, in his sordid little bedsit. I couldn't give a shit about that. I just don't want to have to be alone next year. Even if the girls and I get to celebrate Christmas and C's birthday after the event, it wouldn't be the same.
I wish I could fast forward to 2 January 2012.