Yes, it is the holiday season. Back before my separation and divorce, the holidays had an air of magic about them. A time to celebrate our family and our faith. This is no longer true now that we are a family divided.
The first holiday season I spent alone was in 2013. I remember the confusion and pain like it was yesterday. The holidays are more comfortable for me now, but I hate all of the complicated plans that my kids have to make to include everyone in their newly divided family. I will repeat myself as I have over the years, “I would never have done this to my family. I feel that in this case, it was a very selfish act.”
Take a few minutes and read Dr. Finn’s article, “21 Tips to Survive Divorce and the Holidays”. I will read it and base my thoughts on 2013 vs. 2017 and see how my views have changed over this four-year span. I will focus on just a few from her writings.
#1 Be Patient, and #2 Be Flexible.
“Be patient with yourself, your kids, and the rest of your family as you navigate the holidays. This is new and different for everyone and a little patience will go a long way toward making your first holidays post-separation/divorce more enjoyable than you might believe they can be right now.
“I remember clearly the pain of facing my first holiday as a separated woman. My children were in pain, and so was I. The only one who showed no regret was the one who divided us.”
“Today, I am still disturbed that someone can do this to a family especially for nothing other than selfishness. I no longer miss him, and I do not want to be around him. I now realize I never really knew him. My only concern is the example set for my children and the instability that comes with that example. I will not see my family on Thanksgiving Day, but that is not an issue for me. I know we can celebrate the holiday on any given day.”
#14 Count Your Blessings.
I don’t know that I did that in 2013; the pain was too intense. Four years later, I have so much that I am thankful for—my kids, my grandbabies, my friends, my home, and my dog Brodie.
#7 Make New Family Traditions, #10 Continue your Traditions but simplify them.
Back in 2013, I can’t seem to recall how holiday celebrations went. I know I was upset that we were no longer a family. In 2017 we were, continuing some of our traditions such as getting our yearly Christmas PJ’s. It seems like each year there are tweaks, but that is ok. I guess we are learning what does and does not work.
I don’t know where you are in this process. If this is your first holiday season, hold on; things will get better. I find the best thing to do is cling to your faith and spend time with your family and your friends. That is what pulls us through, what I have found to be, potentially, the most challenging time in your life.
Always remember God’s Promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
God bless you this holiday season.