Miss You Most

I Don’t Miss My Ex... Except At Christmas

The holidays are a reminder of what I don’t have anymore.

Originally Published: 
I Don’t Miss My Ex... Except At Christmas
LOUISE BEAUMONT/Moment/Getty Images

The Mariah Carey song “Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” gutted me the first time I heard it back in 1994. I couldn't even relate: I was a sophomore in college and I didn’t have an ex-boyfriend that I really missed. But I’ve always felt nostalgic over the holidays, so I kind of knew what she was talking about. Now, 26 years later, I feel that song in my bones.

The song is about how we only miss certain people at Christmas; people who we don’t otherwise think about. And it is so, so relatable. Especially if you are divorced. As much as the holidays bring happiness and joy and special events to look forward to, they also bring up a lot of the deep-in-your-soul kinda stuff. For me, I always miss my ex when December rolls around, and it’s a bittersweet feeling.

Sweet because we spent 20 Christmases together. We created a lot of memories in that time: shopping together, planning holiday dinners and date nights on New Year’s Eve. Our child’s first Christmas and the first year we took them to sit on Santa’s lap. I feel lucky I have great memories to look back on, but I’m also aware that the holidays encourage you to see the past through rose-colored glasses.

Even though our divorce was amicable — the right thing to do — the holidays are a reminder of what I don’t have anymore. Sure, I’ve made some new traditions with my kids and I like how we spend our holidays. But I can like this new way of doing things and miss being a family unit this time of year.

It’s hard when I get invited to parties and gatherings, knowing other families are going to be there celebrating too. Being the single friend in a crowd is tough. Seeing movies about partners waking up with little kids on Christmas morning can trigger me some days. And as much as I love shopping for my kids alone and making all the decisions, I still miss having my ex-husband there. Picking our gifts for the kids and dropping hints about things we want and then separating in the mall so we could treat each other to some special things was something I looked forward to each year. Even after things between us dwindled.

I enjoyed making his favorite cookies for him and I loved helping the kids make or buy him something nice.

We had traditions we did each year. Then, those traditions changed. And even though each year I think I’ll turn a corner, it never happens. He’ll always have a place in my heart... and that place feels bigger this time of year.

Diana Park is a writer who finds solitude in a good book, the ocean, and eating fast food with her kids.

This article was originally published on