Sweet November brings the heavenly scent of pecan pie and crisp apple delight. The chill in the air lights fireplaces and brings people inside to gather together. Hot chocolate, and warm socks… these are all thoughts of the season. But things don’t always work that way in our home, and many others across the world. Being a divorced parent means that I will only have 9 out of 18 Thanksgivings and Christmases with my children while they are young. It also means transporting them back and forth to their dad during a normal time of rest and spending time together.
Our children now have 2 Christmases, extra birthdays, duplicates of almost everything so that each of their parents get time with them. But it’s not genuine. It’s not actual. If I have to celebrate Christmas with them on December 15th, IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS. It doesnt’ work that way. Come December 25, I will still wake without their feet running through the house, they’re warm pajamas and candy cane breath will be absent.
I know I spend a lot of time on the anti divorce band wagon. Which is probably strange for someone who is divorced. But I can’t help but watch what it does to children, and mine actually have it really well off, I am very friendly with their dad still. We can talk, and do everything for the benefit of the kids. There is no animosity or hate in our relationship. So, I consider them lucky? How strange that seems.
As a child the holidays were massive traditions in our home. Things we looked forward to and did as a family every, single year. Things I took into my adult life as a constant part of who I am. The traditions that were passed down, go back through several generations, of old Italian, Polish, Irish early settlers of America. They brought our family together. I always assumed that I was a lucky kid, that our family was immune to divorce. But then I watched my parents also, go through the tragic division. The seperation of family. The picking of sides. The shattered traditions.
I will never again curl up in my pajamas beside my dad while watching my husband and children unwrap presents, while my siblings and their children do the same, and my mom tries to take as many pictures as she can. It’s a strange thing. My children will never have the memories I have. They will never know what it’s like to not travel for the Holidays. To wake up in their own beds, and have a tradition repeat itself. Something to grow up on. Something to root to. Something that lasts.
I find that as I watch more and more couples destroyed by the selfishness of life, I feel myself let go of more things. I feel myself determine that some things have to be dropped. Some fights are not necessary. Relationships are not guaranteed. I don’t know that Russell will be there forever, but I want him to be. Maybe that’s important?
In the mean time, I try to give my son and daughters the traditions that I do know, and that I can pass on. I tell them the stories of their great grandparents, and I mix in stories about their dad and I. I try to give them things to build foundations on, to have faith in. Because this side of heaven, seems everything is built on the seashore and before long, it’s just a memory you’re trying to recall in a story.