Holidays. I love the holidays. I love many things about the holidays. I can honestly say that has always been the case even through the toughest times.
My dad passed away on December 14th, and as tragic and devastating as it was, we tried to make the most of the holiday. Of course, we thought we were doing it for my mom’s sake, but I think it was a survival mechanism. It definitely made us much more aware of how important family is. Although bittersweet, as missing your dad never goes away, it was heartwarming as we gathered at my mom’s house to celebrate together.
Fast forward another few years, and my husband walks out on December 4th. What is it with December! Enjoying this holiday was a little harder, as I was not myself or anyone I remotely recognized. And I had to try to hold our children together, as well. But even though I held them each as they cried in disbelief, pain, and non-understanding, I was very grateful to have them all with me. Even with our lives turned completely upside down, spending the time together and trying to focus on the meanings of the holidays was, if not healing, at least a short-term bandage.
Now our holidays are very different, not just from how they used to be, but from how I ever imagined they would be.
It gets harder and harder to have us all together, as the kids grow up, get jobs, families, and move away. Sharing custody, to me, is by far the hardest part. Especially being so hurt by my ex, what he did (and still does) to me and our children, I want to scream to high heavens. Why should he get the good parts (sharing holidays,) when he gives nothing good to not just me, but our children?
Even after all these years, his focus is still not in the best interest of the children, but on not letting them be with me one second more than the court said they would be. He would rather leave our daughter with a sitter and have her miss out on events she wants to go to than to allow her to be with me when he is not around. You see, the court said he could leave her with a sitter, so damn it, he will.
There is nothing harder for me than to spend a holiday, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, without one of my children. I still want them all to be with me. We have had such good holidays together, I don’t want to miss out on having more. But I realize that those memories are special to me, and it is now time for them to begin making their own memories.
Whatever happened to everyone going to mom/grandma’s house for the holidays? :) I personally think it's a tradition we need to bring back!
photo credit: Madeline Linahan