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Merry Christmas!

jubaxmas6Merry Xmas!

Boy, it’s a good thing I woke up and found Christmas pictures from Juba, South Sudan or I would’ve had to inflict my pinecone elf photo series on you. 🙂

LeAnna came through (the wifi has returned to the USAID compound). Here are some pictures from Sunday’s Christmas party.

There’s also a video that I’m unable to open right now (working on it), of the girls singing carols in Santa suits. LeAnna writes:

About those Santa suits. A volunteer has started a choir with some of the oldest girls. He uses weekly choir practice to help teach/improve English, discipline, and focus. The choir sang at a church service last week — it was really beautiful. The girls were then invited to sing at an Embassy and also in the lobby of a hotel (one used by a lot of NGO and humanitarian workers). A volunteer from the Embassy found some red fabric and cotton at the local market and had these Santa suits made. A bit cheesy, but they were actually quite excited to go out and sing at the hotel. They ended up going to the hotel on Sunday evening when we were supposed to open gifts. So we opened gifts with some of the smaller kids that evening that are not in the choir.

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More to come! Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday!

Merry Christmas!

x

Tracy

ETA — more pix!

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LeAnna writes (I asked if there were any open gift pix?):

Unfortunately, by the time they opened the presents, the sun had gone down. That’s why those ones of them handing the presents out were so blurry – I had to try to lighten them up in Lightroom just to get those. I did not have a flash on my camera. I think Cathy, the orphanage founder, did take some pictures with flash. She is visiting family in Nairobi for the long weekend. I will see if she has some when she gets back. I will also be back over at the orphanage and will try to get photos of the kids in their shoes, with the toys, etc.

We could not start opening the presents until all of the kids had finished dinner and the girls were all dressed for the Christmas concert. It was total chaos. Can you imagine living with 30 teen-aged girls and then a dozen wee ones! Fun, but OMG. I’m making Christmas cookies right now to take over tomorrow. Most of the regular volunteers who come to do activities (reading kids books, soccer, art projects, tutoring, etc.) are out of town.

One of the Food for Peace officers on the compound is an excellent photographer. I keep trying to get him to come with me and take pictures. I will try to convince him. It’s hard when I go, because Fatima wants me to hold her and screams when I put her down. The boys are climbing all over. It’s loads of fun. LOL.

BTW, every time I show up now, Fatima follows me around pointing at me and yelling, “shoes, shoes, shoes.”

Fatima is the sweet little girl in the post the other day, who kept sneaking in and trying on the new pretty shoes. 🙂

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  • Merry Xmas Tracy 🙂 Merry Xmas to everyone at Chump Nation 🙂

    Lovely, lovely photos – thank you for sharing 🙂

    Right …. just off to start getting ready to head out to my mum and dad’s for the mad, chaotic, noisy, joyful gathering that is my family at Xmas.

    Love and best wishes for a peaceful and happy day to all 😀

    Jayne xxXxx

  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach my children giving is the best present you can get! Tomorrow they celebrate Christmas at my X & schmoopie’s place, over the top sparkly and with piles of presents. Hope they get the message, if not now, then maybe as responsible and loyal adult men.

    Merry Christmas to you all! I plan to get to meh next year, wouldn’t that be a gift? Wishing that for all of you!

  • What wonderful pictures…..Bless the chump nation…..

    Merry Christmas everyone! For Christmas…..I wish you clairity, empowerment, freedom, happiness, and contentment.

    Rock on fellow chumps!!!

  • Thank you for giving us the chance to make a tiny difference in the lives of these beautiful children. I hope they love what we all picked out.

  • Merry Christmas to every Chump — to those who have successfully taken back the holiday, and to those who are still dealing with the cheater. Seeing those children in Sudan is a reminder of how little it can take to bring joyfulness to someone’s life.

    My daughter and I celebrated our Christmas last evening. First, we did our traditional Random Act of Kindness by buying someone’s coffee at Starbucks, then giving the cashier a $10 tip (it wasn’t feeding the homeless, but it does make us feel good). Then we went home, had a special supper, opened small but meaningful gifts, and listened to David Sedaris read Six to Eight Black Men, another Christmas tradition for us.

    Her father picked her up last night. They’ll spend all of Christmas Day together. No doubt he will shower her with show-stopping presents. He’ll sparkle. He’ll be “on,” making her laugh with his antics, which she loves. But you know what? I don’t think he’s ever done a random act of kindness in his life. He gives nothing to charity. He doesn’t even recycle. I’m just hoping that my daughter learns deeper meaning to things by the example I try to set. She’ll get plenty of lessons in charming superficiality from her father.

    Peace, love, joy. Wishing these for all of you today.

    • Hello Rally Squirrel,

      The lessons you are teaching your daughter about charity and thinking of others is the most precious gift you could give to her.

      You sound like a lovely Lady and I hope you and your Daughter enjoy the rest of Christmas.

      • Thank you, betrayedchump. And I’m so glad you’re feeling better than you thought you would today. That’s an excellent sign of your mightiness. Merry Christmas!

        • The pictures of the children are priceless Tracy! Thank you so much for sharing them. I too, want to adopt every single one of them. I love kids so much!!

          I have grandchildren that were adopted from foreign orphanages and I love those little people to the moon and back.

  • Happy Christmas everybody.

    First Christmas for me without STBX. I am off to my Sisters for Christmas Lunch soon and will enjoy myself. First time I haven’t had to cook a huge Christmas Lunch so that makes a nice change.

    I’m feeling so much better than I thought I would today. Not bad seeing as I am a new Chump.

    Lots of love

    • i also felt much better then i thought i would. although i was stressing all day that XH and MOW would call to visit/see the kids. i made sure to act as normal as possible. luckily, my XH is completely over me and the boys. we arent even worth a phone call much less a visit from his mightiness. it was actually better for my little boys i think. the littlest one (9yr) had a few moments but is doing really good.

      now i am anxiously waiting for 2014 to end. it was the second worst year of my life. i am so ready to start all over in 2015 and hoping good things will happen. anything is better then what happened this year.

  • Truly, the best of Christmas. Happy Merry to all, especially those shining children, may they always be so bright and beautiful and full of hope.

  • True meaning of Christmas.

    Thank you Tracy for having the ovaries to bear your soul to the world and give us voiceless chumps a safe place to go to bear ours.

    You have comforted thousands of people who needed to find a place to vent, look for advice and realize that they are not alone, not crazy, worthy of love, truth and that everything will be OK.

    Okay, okay, enough of the mush…on Dancer, on Prancer…….

      • ((((Bear hugs)))) Love your posts, Calamity. They give me real hope (not hopium 😉

        am honestly glad Christmas it’s over. This was an incredibly difficult holiday. Speaking of holiday, to get through this one, i watched The Holiday 6x. Infidelity is handled honestly (ChumpLady style)…i suspect because it was written and produced by a woman who, for whatever reason, ” gets it.” I shall watch it on into the new year since the movie covers both of these (now) painful holidays.

        Looking forward to a merry meh-mas in the future and more of a meh new year. With gratitude to all chumps who have recovered themselves and are pointing the way…

        Mwah!

  • Merry Christmas Chump Nation!!! I am happily spending a wonderful, peaceful Christmas without stbx, and with 4 of my 5 children. God is good 🙂 Thanks Tracy, for all you do! And to all the other chumps thanks for all the wisdom and compassion show every day on this blog. What a beautiful group of people. I do believe that chumps are just flat out nice people. That’s why we get chumped. But it doesn’t change the inherent goodness inside…..rock on chumps!!! xo

  • Merry Christmas to all! Without CL & CN, I’d be lost! This is the best therapy in the world!!! I look forward to reading everything, everyday!

  • Merry Christmas to you Tracy and to all of Chump Nation. I don’t know where I would have been without you, Tracy, and the people on this site. I look for all the blessings in my life and find this space has surely been one of them. I am content today spending time with my children who are here (and my grandchild – YES!) and having dinner with extended family (in-laws, no less, sans Cheater and the Past(wh)or(e)).

    Those children in Sudan are such a reminder about what is really important and what actually has value. I wish I could adopt every last one of them. Thank you for sharing them with us, Tracy.

    Hugs and Kisses to all of Chump Nation. Peace, Joy and Contentment is my Christmas Wish for all of you.

  • This has turned into one of the shittiest Xmas’s yet which is saying something.
    My adult kids and granddaughter saw my ex on the 23rd as he was spending Xmas with the extended family of OW in her hometown.
    I had said without drama that I did not want a facetime session with dad from my house as it felt uncomfortable to me but my daughter insisted that it was the only way he could see her child play with her presents and they could all wish him merry christmas while assembled together.
    It would be discreet and only dad would be on camera…
    When he called her she set it up and the horror began and I feel sick just writing this. My house is not large and it was being done in my main room where I was present. He asked for the camera to be panned around to see his grandkid play. Still I let it go.
    Then an atmosphere developed between my kids because my elder son had been abrupt and stopped participating…like the fool I am I stepped forward to say merry christmas and try to diffuse the tension…I was humiliated.
    OW was posing with him…standing behind his seat with an arm round his shoulder and smirking. That was why son1 had refused to continue. Apparently it started with ex alone then she came up behind him and joined the session although she is well aware of the awkwardness they feel.
    Son1 left shortly afterwards after bickering with his siblings about it. Daughter apologised to me and said she never anticipated OW making a show….I did!
    Fast forward to me weeping in the kitchen…son2 threatening to walk out…me hitting the booze supply…all in all the makings of the Xmas from hell!!!
    So they win again..not content with choosing her folks over his own family to be with at Xmas he allows this pantomine to be beamed into my home and cause mayhem.
    I feel totally pissed off and disrespected…me in my old jeans trying to cook amid a sea of toys and paper….her carefully groomed in a little black dress and the smuggest face.
    I only just stopped myself ripping down the tree….I am angry at ME for not saying no to this….at my daughter for putting me in this position…at my sons for bickering. I expected nothing but contempt from OW but it hurts that a man I spent decades with, raised these kids with, lived in this house with…would stoop low enough to show this level of disrespect.
    He is actually on the phone again to younger son now and they are discussing it…..

    I have royally blown my top! I went into sons room and told him to have his discussion with dad elsewhere because I live here and will not be humiliated in my own home. I just let rip and went for the tree. Son is blaming me now and has walked out.
    I feel like getting a rope and hanging myself.

    • Oh Mary, I’m so very sorry. I hope your daughter feels badly about it — I can’t imagine what she was thinking. But now you know that under no circumstances will that scene ever be repeated.

      Fuck that horrid ugly cow standing smirking next to your ex. The mere idea of that is appalling to me. I fucking hate her for you!

      The mere idea that she had to insert herself into a private moment with their dad makes me sick. I guess she doesn’t want to lose an ounce of control.

      Mary, please try to remind yourself that you did nothing wrong, you don’t deserve it, and its understandable that you’d feel like shit now.

      I’m so sorry. I feel your pain. We’re all here for you.

      xox

      • Mary, I’m so sorry you had to endure that. I second what Moving Liquid said. I hate the OW for you too. And your idiot XH. They’re both pieces of shit. When you’ve been repeatedly violated, the last thing you need is an invasion of privacy. I would have felt the same way. You went against your own wishes to make your daughter happy / keep the peace. And look at what happens… Now you know without a doubt to stick to your guns when you’re uncomfortable with something. I’ve done it myself repeatedly and trying to enforce boundaries with people who have none. I feel for you. My Christmas was the worst ever also. I feel for you. After everything blows over, apologize to your kids if you flipped out on them and hopefully your daughter will apologize to you for forcing her wishes on you. As far as your X and his current cum dumpster… Meh… Trashy is as trashy does.

    • Sad that your daughter can’t respect your boundaries really – that she thinks its appropriate to be facetiming to show off the grandkids. If he can’t be fucking bothered being there in person – its on him, and she shouldn’t be accomodating his shit. He did the dirty on you, why the fuck should anyone be accomodating his needs? He relinquished those when he decided to play hide the salami with slut-features.

      And as for the OW – shes just a trashy whore. Reason she’s smirking is because she thinks she has one over you, but really – to anyone who matters shes nothing more than what i said – a trashy whore. Shes beneath your notice.

      Its not your fault. Just remember that. And its not worth causing yourself harm over a cheap fuckwad like that and his skank – cheap and trashy is all they do and you have real class.

    • Mary, that does sound like a very difficult, terribly upsetting experience. Please be gentle with yourself and take care of yourself. Things will get better. I am sending you healing, positive thoughts.

    • Mary, honey. I’m sending a big hug to you now, the day after Christmas. You did your best, now let it go. What terrible cowardly abusers your X and his OW are, wreaking havoc in your home on Christmas. Once the holidays are over and you’ve had time to think it through, decide what you want holidays to be like. Tell your daughter that X and the OW are not going to be beamed into your home ever again, that she will need to make her own decisions about finding time to spend on Christmas with her father and the OW. Let your children sort out there own drama–your daughter richly deserves the wrath of her brother but they need to sort that out themselves. And finally, tell your kids they of course can communicate with dad via text but not in your presence or in the middle of group activity. The phones go off during dinner. And while they may take pictures and send them later, tell them this is YOUR time together. “I don’t interrupt your time with your father; I won’t let him interrupt mine with you.” As my first therapist called it, practice the reverse Golden Rule: If I won’t do it to you, I won’t take it from you.” That includes your daughter, who is really just trying to avoid the pain of the changes wrought by her father’s poor choices. If she chooses a relationship with him and OW, you aren’t preventing that; thus, if you choose not to have X and OW around in any form, she can’t dictate your choice. This is a true “live and learn” moment, especially for your daughter, who needs to come to terms with her father’s choices on his turf not yours. She and her child saw her dad on the 23rd–that was their choice. If X wants to see his grandchild play with toys on Christmas, he should have been a faithful husband. And you–put your own well-being first in matters of contact with X and OW. Boundaries!

      As for the dressed-up OW and you in your jeans–you in your jeans amid a sea of toys and paper, with a nice meal being made in the kitchen are far more real than the show your X and the OW put on yesterday. I spent a lot of years as a step-parent trying to be bullet-proof–always groomed, immaculate house, everything in control. There’s nothing authentic and real about that; that’s about fear and control. You on the other hand were willing to try out the FaceTime and while it was a disaster, you learned and will grow from that.

  • You are having a bad day. That is all that is happening. You know what you will not do again. Good. You are learning about yourself and your boundaries.

    If dad really wanted to be with the kids he would have been in the home. The kids will get this as time goes on. It’s all new to them too. They are trying to figure it out.

    You are tender from the outfall. That is understandable. Your children are feeling the same. They are as distressed as you if not more, because he is their dad for LIFE. Bullshit and all.

    Press the start button again or let this day pass. It is not the end of the world. It’s the end of an old horrible way of living with a lie.

    Love be with you and pray for peace in your family to get your through it.

  • What beautiful children. I hope the few gifts they got bring them a little bit of happiness. Scenes like those are such good reminders about keeping priorities straight in our lives.

    Right now I’m quite depressed, but I’d be a much bigger wreck if I didn’t have the distraction of my volunteer work. It gets me 100% out of my own head which is where I need to be.

    Merry Christmas to those brave orphans, Chump Lady, and all of Chump Nation.

    xox

  • Mary, If I remember correctly from some past posts of yours this idea had been brought up and you let your kids know that you were not keen on it. They somehow convinced you that it would be in some far off room and inconspicuous to you.

    You just wanted it to be nice for everyone even though you had said you would be VERY uncomfortable if it turned into anything else. Evidently your kids assured you it wouldn’t because you agreed to it.
    Somehow it turned into a Shit Show with XH panning the house and schmoopie slithering up from behind in her little black dress. Who wouldn’t be furious? I’m mad for you. And I’m mad at your kids too, the ones that thought that was okay. As for schmoopie….if I could get my hands on her. Hoo Boy. What a twat. A pox on her house. Just remember she got Prince Charming. It will be her turn soon enough. But the cool thing? You’ll probably be at Meh by then.

    The point I’m making is….Mary, you had your doubts about this and you were right. Next time your gut tells you something, listen. I was so mentally fragile after my X walked out and a few months later I flew to a friend’s wedding in Reno. I have no idea why I would do something like that. I had some kind of breakdown in the motel room and I couldn’t fly back home for another day because all the flights were booked. I’ve always thought of myself as one of the strongest people I know but I literally shook in a bed for 48 hours. Where I’m going with this? We shouldn’t put ourselves in any situation when we are this vulnerable that will pull every trigger.

    I’m so sorry this happened today Mary but tomorrow will look better, I promise. I wouldn’t say anything else to your kids. Let them come to you in their own way and time. Kids always come back. They’re like cats. Once you feed them, they hang around forever. (<:

  • For those of you having a difficult dayt or stretch of days…the holidays will be over soon. In just over a week, it will be January 2, and things will be back to the normal grind and people won’t be trying to broadcast perfect images of themselves and their holidays out into the world. Things will get back to normal rhythms with less pressure…. (And remember…people don’t broadcast the arguments in the car on the way to wherever or their disappointment with the holidays, etc. They only share the highlight reel.)

    Sending good thoughts to all of Chump Nation. I have been thinking about you all these recent days… I wish ALL of us a much better 2015, a year with healing and strength and peace. May we all journey much closer to the Land of Meh (for those of us who are still working our way there).

  • Mary, one failure doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep drawing those healthy boundaries. Some days will be a royal fuck but I will bet you all learned something. I lived with my Narc ex for 23 years and raised three children with him. As life goes on their sickness becomes more and more pronounced and the entire family become masters at covering up for someone who is toxic and falling apart. What you need to recognize is that you do have the strength to model authentic living and you can start by meeting with your children and talking about what happened. How did it make you feel? How did it make others feel? Address solutions. Be firm, remember this is your life now and you do not have to please anyone. Stop jumping through hoops trying to fix Stupid. Even if your children don’t understand now, they will when enough time has passed. IMHO it is not anybody’s job to make life easy for the disordered cheating dad/spouse, his decision to leave his family doesn’t allow him to attend family gatherings, that is the worst kind of enabling. My ex set a pattern early on and my children still fall into behaving the way they always did. I call them on it. He spent years modeling this shit and now it’s my job to show people how to treat me. He had a great time subtly belittling me and spoiling holidays. Hmmmm, Sound familiar? Selfish, entitled, sparkly people are mesmerizing but your kids should now be recognizing that their father’s behavior is not okay and brainstorming together will help you all develop healthier boundaries. Be especially kind to yourself, Mary. Your kids are reeling too. A great thing about failing is that in the next moment there lies an opportunity for success.

    • This is it in a sentence:
      “His decision to leave his family doesn’t allow him to attend family gatherings, that is the worst kind of enabling.”

      • Its my youngest 1st birthday in a few days and the pos got his lawyer to write to me “father seeks attendance at the child’s 1st birthday party”. I shoot back my reply ” I have consented to the father having child from x to x time to accommodate amble time for him and his family to complete their celebratory arrangements for child” HELL NO I want to share my child’s special day with him. That’s my time to make my own memories without any toxicity tainting it. POS gave up every right to celebrate days like birthdays together when he decided the children and I were indisposable.

  • Thank you all. I did post about this before and thought I had handled it but I just cannot believe the horror of what took place. I should also mention that this woman invaded my house in person in the past and caused a nasty scene….she told me out in the street that their affair had been going on years. I have been civil to her since but cannot take this level of disrespect and pretend its ok.
    I also discovered a text from ex wishing me a good xmas sent not long before this circus was staged…WTF!
    I wonder if there really is karma and how it can allow him to set his family against one another, wreck our day, and OW to feel the need to flaunt her status by not having the decency to back off for five minutes…..and my younger son tells me I have made a fuss about something trivial.
    The tree is back in the attic…the cards in recycling…and I hope that I have learned a lesson regarding boundary control. All this playing nice and minimising is exhausting but I thought I was past all the screaming and drama.
    All I can say is that if he truly feels good about himself and her antics then karma is a myth…surely secure and happy people in their position do not want to rock the by inciting trouble so maybe he needs the kibbles….well he succeeded.
    As for me…I will lick my wounds and gather what remains of my dignity. They say it is not how people treat you but how you choose to react/respond that counts and I feel that I let myself down.

    • Aggggghhhhhh!! yuck and hugs! That would have been enough to send any of us on a tailspin. I’m so sorry it was your day, but I’m glad you used the energy to pack up the ghost of Christmas present and banish it back to the attic for a year free of Christmas drama.

      Sounds like you will have plenty of time to get your message across.

      “I had said without drama that I did not want a facetime session with dad from my house as it felt uncomfortable to me but my daughter insisted that it was the only way he could see her child play with her presents and they could all wish him merry christmas while assembled together.”

      Gee, I’m thinking that there might have been . . .one little eeensy teensy way . . . lemme think for a minute . . . oh, right, he could have been faithful to the family he already had. No problem, then.

      As a mom of a young adult daughter I know how difficult/delightful they can be, and suspect that someday she will understand, and apologize. See, he was the one that screwed up. And you picked up the ticket for the screw up in so many ways, and now this.

      I can only imagine that he was sitting there feeling like the cock of the walk, to have one black-widow-spider of a woman fawning over him possessively, and another driven to the point of heartsickness by the three-ring-circus going on in your home. I wonder what would have happened if you had just . . . left? Gave them the number for Pizza-for-Less, and gone off to spend the afternoon at the movies.

      I hope that you can clearly specify that under no circumstances do you want either of them back in your home again ever. “Sorry that it has to come to this, but I trusted you to be sensitive to my feelings, and you were not. I trusted you to respect my limits, and you did not. I have to set my boundaries out further, build the walls higher, and defend them more stridently because of this. So here’s my limit. They don’t come over here again ever.”

      Next year will be better.

    • Mary, you said it yourself: they’ve been doing it for years. She invaded your home the first time she crossed the line with him emotionally. And it went on from there.

      And go No Contact with this fucktard. Block his emails and/or texts. If the kids are grown there is no need to communicate with him, ever. And if you must communicated give him a separate email address that you only check once a week, when you are OK and feeling strong.

  • Mary,
    I, too, had a bad Christmas. I got the flu and was unable to do anything. Ex had the semi-grown children for the holiday, so I was home alone, and unable to travel. I think the only reason I didn’t lose it is because I don’t have a tv, and wasn’t exposed to all the “holiday cheer”. Next year, hide the damn wi-fi box. I assume you pay for Internet service. Well, if your grown children need to be on the internet during a holiday, they can go home and not use your internet. Seriously. Nothing like taking the wi-fi away from a generation of kids who don’t remember what it was like before Internet! Hugs and hang in there.

  • Bah and humbug…I hate fucking Xmas without an episode worthy of the Eastenders annual festive fight…its a British soap where there is always a big scene of some sort on Xmas day. I am getting too old for this and, if I am still here next year, will not be hosting anything. I
    will feel free to do exactly as I please.
    To the other chumps who had a rotten time I am gunning for all of you.

    • I’ve had plenty of rotten Christmases with the asshole IN the home!! My peace came when the fucker was gone.

      Mary, find a little black dress and put it on. I don’t care what size you are, put it on.

      You will find you have your integrity and can wear a little black dress. One is not exclusive of the other.

      The OW?

      All she has on is a little black dress to cover her little black heart. And the ex? He sold his soul for an illusion.

      YOU are mighty. If there ever is a next time the two twiddles are in your home via skype, pull the plug and *poof* they’re all gone!

      Now you are magic!

      • Her little black dress covers her (OW’s) little black heart… Haha that’s great!

        It is difficult enough to understand cheaters’ selfishness, but the ongoing meanness? Ugh.

        Saw the last Hobbitt movie last night. It helped me understand a bit more about the world of cheaters, as in, good vs evil..

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