Divorce, Parenting Plans, and The Holidays
As a single parent the holidays can be tough. For many single parents, with an alternating holiday rotation in the parenting plan, Christmas or the holidays, must be modified. In my situation, one of us has the kids on Christmas, the other gets them Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Others work it out so that one person has the kids on Christmas Eve, and the other has them on Christmas Day. This seemed to disruptive to me. I really don’t care to interact with any of my ex’s during the holidays, and though it was hard at first, I am glad it worked out this way for us.
The first year that I had the Thanksgiving/New Year’s rotation was horrible. But then, the first few years after any divorce are pretty horrible for most people. I think I made sure that I was quite busy so I didn’t think about it. One year, I repainted the interior of the house. Another year, I left town. Five years later, it is a very different thing altogether.
Two days ago, my four children headed off to their other homes for their Christmas half of Winter Break. While I miss them terribly, I know my children love me, and I know they miss me too, even if they don’t call or text me when they are gone. I’m alone for eight glorious days, and I doubt I’ll experience even a tiny shred of loneliness. You see, for me, alone does not equal lonely. I haven’t always felt this way, and I may experience loneliness in the future, but right now, I think I’ve figured out how to cope with the adjustments that come in the fallout of divorce.
At first, I was devastated that I wasn’t living the “normal” family life I’d wanted as a child. In fact, in many ways, my own situation cannot measure up to what my parents did for us by providing us with an intact home, free of having to pack bags and move locations every week or two.
It’s all about how you think of it. Getting to the place where I could think positively about it, took some time. I knew I wasn’t getting back with either of my ex’s (they’ve both remarried), and I wasn’t one of the fortunate ones whose ex just disappeared, so I had to deal with the reality that “it is what it is.” I had to accept my situation as it was. That was the first step.
The next step meant I had to accept me as I was. I had to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. I had to be okay with being me and being with me. After all, if it isn’t the holiday aloneness, there will someday be the empty nest aloneness. I refuse to be one of those aging parents that is dependent upon their children for everything. I really never want my children to feel they must spend time with me out of duty or obligation or fear that it will hurt my feelings. No, I do not want to be a needy parent for my adult children. Since, after the events of recent months and the decisions I’ve made in the relationship department, it looks like I will not have a companion to accompany me to the old folks’ home, it makes sense that I learn to feel okay with this “alone” status. I needed to learn to see myself as worthwhile in my own right, not because I was “in a relationship.” It helped to discover things I enjoy doing and activities or goals I have that are independent of my role as mother, or lover, or caretaker of some loser bum.
Sure, it’d be great to have that special someone to hang out with. It would be super to not have to do this whole parenting trip alone. It would be wonderful to have an additional income to assist with some of the expenses. That is just not going to happen for me. Or, if it ever does, it isn’t happening now and I’m not going to waste my life wishing for things that simply do not exist. The relationship or lack of it, does not define me. I didn’t realize what a gift it was that the Gone BF gave when he left in such a manner that prevented any return. I found I actually enjoy not being in a relationship.
Maybe that’s just because the only relationships I’ve had, have been bad ones where I’ve completely given up myself in order for them to work.
I now have five days left before my children return. I’ve had a Friday evening, and an entire weekend alone. I haven’t been lonely once. In fact, if anything, I have so much I want to get done before the kids return that I am constantly on the go. If I’m not on the go, I’m home being so grateful for the home I live in and the opportunity to rest and relax after such a harrowing year.
Most people do not understand this. Most people think it a travesty to be alone on a major holiday. My take? It’s only a travesty if the person who is alone, doesn’t want to be alone. I’m going to be fine. I’m okay with me. I’m comfortable in my own skin. My kids and I will celebrate Christmas just like we always do. It will just be on a different day this year.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the silence. It will be noisy enough soon enough.
Posted on December 23, 2012, in Divorce and tagged being alone, Christmas, divorce, holidays, Loneliness, parenting plans, single parents, spending Christmas alone. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.