Home > personal > So how Merry Can Christmas Really BE Without My Kids? (Or, The Ex Gets Christmas This Year…)

So how Merry Can Christmas Really BE Without My Kids? (Or, The Ex Gets Christmas This Year…)

I’m going to do a post about holidays and the statute in Utah regarding how they’re split up, but right now I want to address that super-emotional thing that anyone who is divorced  with kids will go through generally every other year:  Christmas WITHOUT your kids.  I’ve been divorced going on 8 years now, so I’ve done this a few times.  This is what I think:

As a caveat, I should say up front that I really do not like Christmas.  At all.  I hate crowds at stores, and the traffic; I hate the fact that I can’t afford Christmas presents; I hate the expectations, that I simply cannot meet.  I hate all the Happy that surrounds it, because I am generally NOT happy at Christmas, and boy, does misery love company, and when misery can’t find company, it becomes even more Miserable.  So yeah, I have a bad attitude.  We all have issues.  I’m in therapy.

When we add to that the whole “Christmas really isn’t the same without my kids” thing, it just makes for a really rough holiday season (though to be quite honest, Christmas WITH the kids is tough too, because I have 4, and doing the whole Santa-Thing is expensive as hell, and I don’t have it…see above.)  Two-edged sword here with the holidays, to say the least.  There was one year that I went up to my parents’ place in Nowhere, Idaho, for Christmas, and when I was SUPPOSED to be picking up my kids AFTER Christmas, we were snowed in…my parents’ road had not been plowed, was totally drifted in, and I was Stuck.  Could not get out of the driveway or down the road.  Once at the end of the road, however, I could’ve gotten out, because THAT road had been plowed.  I had something of a panic attack and ended up sitting in a bathroom sobbing for about 10 minutes before pulling it together.  (Happy Ending:  My aunt and uncle live on the road that was plowed, and my uncle farms, and he DROVE UP THE ROAD IN A TRACTOR and picked me up, took me to their house, loaned me one of THEIR cars, and I was able to get my kids.  Christmas Miracle yet again :). )

This year was again NOT my year to have my kids.  I dreaded it all month.  I also dreaded going to my parents’ for Christmas proper, in large part because I’ve been driving a gas-guzzler lately, and I could not afford the gas.  Nor did I want to do the Up and Back twice.  I’ve had a Tired Winter so far, and it was just too much to deal with.  So I determined to stay home, by myself, for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and only go up to the folks once I got the kids on the 27th.

My plan was met with horror by my mother, bless her heart…She could not stand the thought of me being alone on Christmas Day.  “It’s no big deal, I’ll sleep half the day and go to a movie in the evening,” I told her.  She didn’t think that sounded like a Good Plan.  I got other offers, from other neighbors, to join their Christmas dinners, etc., but really didn’t feel like doing Faux Festive with people I don’t know that well.  And so I pressed on with my plan.

Christmas morning out my window...Dazzling, even alone--Maybe ESPECIALLy alone.

Christmas morning out my window…Dazzling, even alone–Maybe ESPECIALLY  alone.

And ya know what?  I had a WONDERFUL Christmas.  Best one since I was 17 years old, in fact.  I DID sleep half the day, and when I woke up, was met with the most brilliant blue-sky, Utah Tourism Bureau Picture Perfect Postcard of a day EVER.  I ate a little breakfast, and shoveled my driveway (we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 inches of snow the day/night before), and then determined to go for a drive up the canyon.  Which was sensational–SUCH a beautiful day!  When I got home, I showered, ate lunch, and went to Les Miserables (which is a fabulous movie, if you can tolerate musicals ;).)  And then I came home.  Watched some tv.  Went to bed.

Up Logan Canyon, at the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort turn-off....Days like this don't come around all that often.

Up Logan Canyon, at the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort turn-off….Days like this don’t come around all that often.

Truly, this was the most peaceful Christmas I can recall since being a kid in my own parents’ home.  I had a great day.  All by myself.  And I’m SO glad I gave myself the opportunity for it, even though NOT having my kids was not my choice.

We CAN move on with our lives after divorce.  I’m not going to claim that I’m the picture of Positive Thinking by any stretch, but this year, on this one, wonderful holiday, I found Peace.  Which is a rare commodity in this world indeed.  It was truly a Merry Christmas.

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Categories: personal
  1. October 16, 2015 at 9:42 am

    You are a gifted writer, love your humor and honesty! I was freaking out today because the UEA holiday gives my ex the kids 3 weekends in a row, and now I am going to take your advice, move on and enjoy my weekend. I’m a writer too, and love when my writing helps someone!

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