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Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Christmas Gift

This first Christmas after divorce was pretty rough.  The children were gone for the entire week prior and up to almost 6 pm.  My parents came to keep me company and keep me busy, I worked extra, went to out to dinner some and to a movie with a friend.  I played Santa and got everything ready for our time when the children returned.

Still, I didn't escape tears at the Christmas Eve service where I saw all the families together.  Christmas Eve and morning were strange without little ones.  When they arrived home, they were already exhausted and overstimulated.  Present-time was chaotic and somewhat of a blur.  After everyone was in jammies, we did get some snuggle time and I was able to read the Christmas Story.  If I could, I would do it differently - just one gift that night, with some anticipation for the next day.

The gift in all of this experience was that I had no expectations.  I was expecting this holiday to be different from the past, strange and disorienting.  It was, and I wasn't devastated because I was realistic about the way things are right now.  So, I had less stress, fought the urge to make up for the emotional issues with materialistic indulgence and didn't get uptight about schedules.  It was relaxed.

I've really enjoyed connecting this week.  The slower pace and schedule have allowed for lingering meals with family, unrushed playtime and lots of backrubs and snuggles.  We have the extra gift of snow!  Lots of outdoor fun, proud owners of snowboots and pink cheeks make me smile!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He Came for This - He Came for Me.

I am experiencing my first Christmas after divorce. I sent my three little ones to Daddy’s house for a week – how is it possible that a Mother is not with her children at Christmas? But that’s where I find myself. As I ran an errand for work yesterday, the sadness overwhelmed me and tears were unstoppable alone in my vehicle. And without doubt, Christ reminded me that, “I came for this.” This brokenness, pain, loss – it’s why we have Christmas at all.

I’m still struggling. There is no way around the grief, but I’m not alone and the pain is part of the joy of redemption. Somehow, He will bring good from our messes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day as a Single Mom

I love the chance to spend an extra day with my little ones because a snow day here, with school cancelled, means I'm with them all day.  Hurray!  Relaxed time with no schedule, cold adventures and hot cocoa warm-ups.  It's a great bonding time, to be sure.

However, it also means I miss a day of work, a day of pay.  My schedule and budget get thrown a little out of whack and an extra dose of flexibility is required.  My - hasn't that been one of the greatest lessons in my life: letting go of my expectations and plans, being flexible, trusting that nothing has surprised God.  Whew, it's tough though, for me.

So, for me it is essential to have a backup plan for childcare.  I can budget to miss one day of work per month (assuming I'll have a sick one, a field trip or something).  But we are going on day 2 of a snow day and I've already missed work for a dental appointment this month, plus there will be the Christmas holiday.    I have agreed with a high school junior who knows my children from church that when she is out of school for a snow day, she will come to my house.  We are in the same school district, so it works for us and I am relieved to know there is a plan in place and I'm not floundering at the last minute for fill-in childcare.

Then I can enjoy some of the white stuff before heading back to the grown-up world!

Friday, December 10, 2010


It’s my first Christmas as a single mother, and so far I feel I’m making it. Complicating things is the fact that we got married at Christmastime and there are a lot of memories/traditions attached to this holiday. Still, it’s been a pleasant season so far and acknowledging some of the melancholy has helped me to be authentic and still enjoy the fun.

It was hard when M came over to divide the Christmas ornaments and d├ęcor. Many of the ornaments we collected or gifted one another and have memories. I tried to go into the process with a loose hand and an attitude of just creating a fresh start – so I gave him the tree topper and tree skirt we purchased during our first married year. He took some of the others, even some for the children and I just let them go. They need memories at his house, too.

I’m trying to encourage lots of fun and connections with the little ones, so we’ve started a new tradition of an advent calendar where the children take turns opening a small calendar box each day. They very much look forward to it and the ‘treasures’ are small – chocolate coins, candy bracelets, dollar items, etc. So far, the favorite was a candy cane that ensued with a large box of candy canes for a Candy Cane Hunt! It was so fun and something we’ll certainly do again.

I still have to face the sending of my children to their father’s for the whole week leading up to and most of Christmas Day. I’m dreading it, but I plan to spend that time working extra hours and wrapping our few gifts. I will miss them terribly!

I miss M, too. It’s strange to do things a new way and not share the memories, excitement and gift-plotting with someone. Then again, I remember the conflict that the holidays always brought. The arguments over the tree, presents, plans that excluded those I loved, anger about the gifts…I’m thankful to be delivered from that.