Musings of A Belated Christmas
Posted by Miz Insomniac
Today, or yesterday, since I’m writing this in the middle of the night after which these events occurred, was Christmas for my little clan. It happens this way every other year. It is the way of the Broken Marriage. It is the way of The Divorced. My kids have all returned from their other homes. They unloaded, drug their things in, and sprawled out filling every open space in my once empty house. The noise level is unbearably loud, with all four voices often vying to be heard by notching up the sound meter higher, and higher. We are not a quiet family. Apartment life would not work at all for us. Whether, calling up to a child from downstairs or re-telling the latest events that happened while they were gone, the noise is never quiet. Or, it never was, until yesterday.
My secret to success?
I gave the gift of technology. They have been blissfully quiet, setting up their new gadgets, playing games, downloading and installing, and every so often exclaiming, “Oh, this is so cool!” Now, mind you I am not the kind of mother who sticks her kids in front of the TV in order to get them out of her hair, though I have been known to put them in the store Play Place while I get my shopping done. I do tend to be a bit obsessed with technology myself and giving my kids some of the newest, or almost newest, fun tech gadgets, when I can, is a great deal of fun. On our list this year was a laptop, a tablet with bluetooth keyboard, an iPod Touch, and iPhones. The iPhones with their corresponding data plans weren’t happening. But i was able to give them everything else they wanted, and I didn’t have to break the bank to do so. (I was able to work deals out on all the items so I really didn’t spend that much per child.)
Now, mind you. I’m not made of money. I just happened to get a better payout on the total loss on my car than I expected. I also shopped around. I also, happened to have a decent relationship with my first ex. We can communicate. We can work together to further our resources for the best interests and benefit of our children. I knew that he had set aside some money as a graduation gift for one of our daughters toward the purchase of a computer for school. I was able to add to that amount in order to complete the purchase of a nice little 1.6 laptop, with more speed and memory than my own laptop. (I seriously wanted to buy the thing for myself.) Further, because, I have a decent relationship with my first ex, I was able to work with him on the purchase of other gifts for the kids as well. This ability to communicate reasonably well with the ex has made parenting after divorce much easier. It certainly has benefitted the children.
My second ex and I do not have the same ability to communicate. In fact, the marriage failed largely because we could not communicate, arriving at impasse after impasse, instead of coming to some agreement. Even when agreements were made, he routinely ignored them or refused to honor them. This makes it difficult to collaborate or work together on anything. It was impossible to collaborate on a marriage, and it is no easier working with him on behalf of our daughter. This is to my daughter’s detriment. This saddens me. I know she sees the difference in the level of communication and the quality of communication and I know she must feel something about it. It must, on some level, be very painful and sad for her.
I don’t think this situation is particularly unusual for divorced parents. Knowing I have company as I walk this road, doesn’t necessarily always make it easier to take the next steps. It certainly doesn’t change my youngest daughter’s reality, nor does it ease her pain. My daughter has missed out on dance lessons, sports activities, and music lessons simply because I could never get a commitment from her dad to get her to events and practices if/when they occurred on her weekends with him. I’m a big believer in not scheduling anything for the child on the other parent’s time, but sports events happen every weekend. So my daughter, who just turned 12 yesterday, has not been in any sports at all until now. This year, she tried out and made the volleyball team. Her dad seems to be supportive. I am hoping like crazy that the tournaments fall on my weekends. The practices are midweek, so getting her to those will not be a problem. Getting her to the tournaments is another story if they fall on a weekend where she is with him.
You would think it would be okay to just talk to the man and make arrangements. In most circumstances, I’d agree. Keep in mind, I don’t refer to him as the Evil Ex just because it sounds good. This is a man who can look you in the face and give you his word he will do something, all the while never having any intention of doing it at all. He could easily tell me he will get our daughter to her tournament, and then not show. The thing that is so good at this point, is that our daughter is getting older, and she is becoming more aware of the realities about her dad. This, combined with his deep-seated need to appear as “Dad of the Year” in the eyes of his daughter, makes it probable that he won’t let her down it this particular area. I can only hope that after investing the time and the money that I have so that she can participate, he will respect his daughter enough to get her to her tournaments.
So, as my children play enthusiastically with their new gadgets, I am left with my own thoughts for a few moments. My son has downloaded a movie onto the iPod touch he received. My youngest is face-timing her bestie on her new iPod touch. My oldest is exploring the new-to-her Samsung Tablet that will replace her old and dying Dell laptop. The second oldest daughter, after playing with the new laptop, has gone off to see the new Monsters, Inc. in 3-D. Turkey breast is steaming in the slow cooker. Later there will be a nice meal, and loud laughter and relatives will come to visit, just like any normal Christmas celebrated on the 25th.
Divorce is awful on everyone, particularly the children. It changes everyone involved forever. There are new ways of relating, challenges to overcome, financial difficulties that often result in a lowered economic situation. The up side, if there is one, is that in time, the pain fades, people heal, new routines are established and sometimes, if you are very lucky, financial situations improve. It’s not been easy, but I’m pleased with how far we’ve come as a family. We’ve made it through some rough patches, but we’re going to be okay.
I was so worried about making it to this point this year, and I guess, I needn’t have been. It was a very Merry Belated Christmas after all.
About Miz InsomniacUsually, it's the kids who grow up and leave home, but Miz Insomniac switched it up. When her kids grew up she decided to make her dreams come true so she flew the nest. After making 12 trips across the pond and back to Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2014-15, Miz Insomniac now qualifies as a world traveler. She hasn't quite mastered the fine art of traveling light, but she knows how to manipulate travel plans to avoid missed flights and jet lag. A former hopeless romantic turned realist, she's stateside now reinventing her life in a new city, with new opportunities, and all the challenges that come with leaving a career, traveling abroad for a year, and then returning to a world that's nothing like she left it. Her overseas travel is by no means over, it's just not as frequent. She's different now, but remains a night owl. She writes when she should be sleeping...and while you probably are.
Posted on December 30, 2012, in Divorce, Family Life and tagged adjusting after divorce, celebrating holidays after divorce, children and divorce, children of divorce, Christmas, communicating with the ex, divorce, parenting plans, post-divorce holidays, single parents, single parents and the holidays. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.