Friday, January 4, 2008

Tripping Up Along The Holiday Shuffle

Scheduling holiday visits with family was sometimes a major PITA, even though I made it look easy in this post. Remembering where Cinderella would be proved challenging at times.

(Prince Charming and Maleficent used to alternate Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and other holidays every year.)

I tried to keep things straight by writing this stuff down on every calendar we owned but, inevitably, Cinderella would miss out on seeing someone (and vice versa) b/c their schedule just didn't match up with ours.
(And... sometimes b/c the custody/visitation schedule was thrown OFF-schedule b/c someone couldn't accommodate their visitation time and requested a switch in days. *ahem* )
When Prince Charming was granted full custody two years ago, the custody document was adjusted once again in an effort to make it easier for all involved.
Cinderella would now be with us EVERY Christmas Eve.
Maleficent would get her EVERY Christmas Day from 12 Noon until December 28th where Cinderella would be returned home and remain through New Years and until the end of her holiday break (upon which the regular visitations schedule would resume).
Easy right?
Now we KNOW to plan our family get-togethers every Christmas Eve so Cinderella never again has to miss out!, we happily proclaimed then.
And yet, somewhere amidst the baking and decorating and shopping and wrapping we tripped up.
We forgot to plan for Christmas Eve and went right along with scheduling parents, step-parents, extended family visits for Christmas Day.
Once again, Cinderella missed out on seeing them.
Once again, they missed out on seeing her.
We suck. I know it. She knows it.
As much as I tried to downplay it, she knows they were here. Her face showed her disappointment.
Disappointment that was short-lived and all-but disappeared once she opened the presents they left for her... but still IT WAS THERE.
Try as we might, holidays may never be "perfect" when stepchildren are involved.
(My parents made it look easy but that could be b/c they didn't come from divorced parents so didn't have the added challenge of scheduling time with their own "steps.")
As Stepparents, we can only do our best to establish traditions and rituals that will hopefully create happy memories for our skids and that will not leave them feeling left-out or that they somehow missed out.
With each new year and with each experience comes a chance to do better.
Next year, Cinderella, we WILL do better.


Jenni said...

Now that I have a step-daughter, I have officially decided that Christmas is my least favorite time of year. It's just so difficult with the planning with all the families and the switching and the AAAAHHHHH! Oh well, I have almost a year before I have to deal with it all again. I wish our custody agreement were as cut and dry as yours. Ours is more of a last minute discussion during a switch-off.

Day said...

It is interesting, the christmas schedule you have. It is the same an my husbands with his ex, exactly. I thought it was a strange was to split the hoiday but now I guess it is a lawyer staple for writing an agreement (I am in NC, dunno what state you live in). I have to say it is the only way we have ever done it so it is a little easier for us I suppose but I think it really sucks to not get to see my skid on christmas morning EVER! no matter how many days we get afterward.