Friday, November 27, 2015


I might have mentioned that due to the kids' schedules in transit, we are not celebrating Thanksgiving until today. As a blended family, this is nothing new to us. Depending on the kids' (my son, Big Ag's son and daughter) time with their "other" parents (our ex-spouses) this is something we know how to roll with.

Who knew there was an advantage to getting divorced! Well, there is. It teaches you to allow your children time away from you at an early age, and it's good practice for later on.

Yes, we divorced families know we have to be flexible regarding time with our children. I remember having a full Christmas, including fancy dinner, presents, carols, etc. with my son on December 22, because he was going to be at his Dad's house on "real" Christmas. Of course Christmas was difficult for me that year because I knew it was Christmas Day and my son was not with me. I think I went hiking with a friend or something. 

But for me the most important thing was that my son was happy, and having two Christmases at that young age seemed to fit the bill nicely.  Plus since you can also throw Chanukah into the mix at my house (all eight nights of it), winters are a good time to be here at our homestead -- if you like receiving presents and eating good food.

Within a couple of years after the divorce, my ex-husband and I were managing to work out Christmas so that we both got to spend time with our son on the actual day itself, and could even put our differences aside long enough to let him have Christmas with both his parents -- we'd generally either do breakfast or dinner together. That too, required patience and flexibility, but we made it work and I think our son is the better for having seen us do it. Eventually, my ex and I became good friends, and he is also good friends with Big Ag. I like to think it was that mixing together during the holidays that helped bring all that about. Call it a Holiday Miracle if you like.

But my point is, eventually, ALL parents have to learn to be flexible, as their children grow up. It's not just you. There will surely come a time when everyone's son or daughter wants to spend Christmas at their boyfriend's/girlfriend's home, with his or her parents (potential in-laws) instead of you. 

Sometimes it's because of geography -- if your son falls in love with a girl from St. Louis, her parent will be expecting their daughter to come home for the holiday as much as you're expecting your son to come home for the same.

And unless you're planning on being a territorial asshole about it, you will graciously share your children (and someday, grandchildren) with the parents of the one they love. So maybe you have full Christmas dinner on the 22nd. Or the 28th. Who knows.

But here's the cool thing -- and I think it's safe to say it is just about the only cool thing about going through divorce, but it's there, regardless:  We divorced parents already know how to share our kids -- we've been doing it literally for years. We learned the skill early on, and now that the kids are grown we already know how to let go, knowing losing a holiday is not losing a child forever. 

And so, with the turkey preparations underway and the house preparing to fill with our grown kids (2 out of 3 anyway) and possibly even an ex-husband on the way, may I wish all those in unusual circumstances, all those in non-nuclear families, a wonderful holiday season, whatever day you happen to be celebrating. 

Three's no reason to confine the celebrating to just one day, anyway  Some of us learned that a long time ago. After all, no one ever says, "'tis the day." The expression is "tis the season."


  1. I should probably print this and make myself read it in October every year. I am the biggest territorial asshole (as always I blame being a Taurus). One time my boyfriend asked me if I would spend Thanksgiving with his family in Michigan and my response was just laughter! I didn't even consider it for a second. Luckily even in hindsight that particular example of ungraciousness turned out to be a good decision. But I know I'm going to need to feign some flexibility regarding the holidays eventually. A very good post and lesson! Happy Thanksgiving! So happy that you and your ex husband have found common ground and become friends!

  2. Ya, I'm usually friends with my ex's. I'm still friends with both of the two guys in the pic above as well, and now their spouses and families. I just figure if there were all these commonalities which brought you together, those things don't change once you break up, even if the "love" part does. (given some time to heal hurt feelings, of course) Agreed that territorial flexibility is difficult, though, especially if your holiday traditions are stepped in time and tradition as your family's are.Those are the places we'd most like to be so going elsewhere is difficult! But very worth it if you can do it occasionally for the one you love, kids, etc. Just think of the leverage you have the other 364 days for being a good sport!