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!