Christmas Day was "just fine." I went over to the big house, opened presents with my children and their mother (still my wife), then went out to a big Christmas buffet at a local hotel - a family tradition. It was all fine, really.
In the midst of it all, I was hit by a huge wave of that feeling that I've "made the worst mistake of my life, leaving this family." It happened at an odd time. My wife was commenting on the very fine wrapping job one of our daughters had done. "Your grandmother would be really proud of you." (My mother could be really creative with her present wrapping).
All of a sudden, I was overcome with emotion. Why am I doing this? What would my mother say? How can this be happening? I had to leave the room, using the excuse of getting some more coffee. It took me a minute to get myself together.
The dinner was wonderful. We shared stories about our crazy family (mainly my crazy family). We laughed. We ate (and ate). It was fine, really. Why am I doing this? What am I doing?
The feeling passed, though not right away. I know why am doing this and it is the right thing. But at this moment, all its difficulties and sadnesses are in my face.
We begin again. And again.