Thursday, December 24, 2009

A New Twist on an Old Tradition

Not that many years ago, I wrote about how Prince Charming and I managed to survive the holiday shuffle.
This year, I find myself struggling to shuffle a new custody schedule not only with Cinderella but with my own Hansel & Gretel now as well.
Since unofficially separating this past summer, Prince Charming and I have tried to work out an alternating custody schedule with the kids. One that attempts to give each of us equal time with ALL THREE kids and also follows the visitation stipulation that's been in place for Cinderella and Maleficent since 2006.
Simply put: If Cinderella is home with Prince Charming, then so are Hansel and Gretel.
Our primary goal is to keep our kids together with each other as much as possible.
In some ways, it's made figuring out the current schedule with Hansel and Gretel rather easy since all we have to do is use Cinderella's as our template.
So weekends, holidays and birthdays are all sorted.
(See, there is some benefit to all of those hours and dollars being spent in court with Maleficent afterall!)
The downside is this year I will not be with the kids on Christmas morning. I get to spend some of Christmas Eve with them (because it's fallen on my normally scheduled day) until 6pm. And then Christmas Day will have Hansel and Gretel starting at 12 Noon. At that same time, Cinderella will go off to her Mom's for three days.
I will miss out on tucking the kids in and putting out cookies for Santa and food for the reindeer. Miss their eyes filled with wonder on Christmas morning when they come down and find their presents under the tree.
Tonight, I will be at my Mom's celebrating Christmas Eve dinner. Something we don't get to do very often but hope to do more of in the future. Before I go, I will help Cinderella assemble the baked french toast that has become part of our Christmas morning tradition. (Time I am looking forward to spending just with her, since I will not see much of her during this holiday break.) We will all then listen to 'Twas The Night Before Christmas with our animated Thomas Kinkade Story House before I leave.
Tomorrow morning I will awaken at my Mom's and open gifts with her. Something I haven't done in a long, long time. Before I was married. Before I was a Mom.
I will then head down to see Hansel and Gretel (hopefully catching Cinderella before she leaves), exchange some gifts with them before bringing them back to Grandma's for Christmas dinner. Something they have never done.
I'm determined to welcome these changes in my Christmas traditions with a positive attitude.
There are unexpected gifts hidden within them - though one Mom will be without her children's faces on Christmas morning, another Mom gets to relive Christmas memories with her first born daughter.
And later on create new memories with (two of) her grandkids.

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis


Gloria said...

As a Mom who had to learn how to do the holidays and birthdays without my boys, I feel your pain. I can assure you that, while the pain never goes completely away, you will find other joys to replace those moments. It will also help your focus more clearly on making the moments you do have that much more memorable. My thoughts, prayers and hugs are with you.

mathcutie said...

Change sucks for a while, but I know that you are always looking out for the best interests of your children so it will get easier. I can tell you that I took up running after ex and I split mostly because I couldn't stand being alone in my apartment without my son. Stay busy, think good thoughts, go to church.

Ann said...

Savor the moments, the big ones, the small ones not just at Christmas but each and every day. Life has a way of flipping in an instant so it's important to embrace what one has today.

Me? I'm just trying to hold it together for the next few hours..small steps. I know that you can do anything that you set your mind to.

Stef said...

I try and remember how hard it must be for the mother of my partner's daughter to not be together at Christmas when she starts going a bit nutty.

I also remind myself that it isn't when the celebrations take place but the feelings associated with them that the kids will recollect in years to come.

SaraKate said...

My parents divorced when I was 4 1/2, and to me, Christmas has always been on whatever day I can be with my family! If that means I have two (or three) Christmases throughout the week from Dec 25-Jan 1, that's what it means!

As a step-mom, we will do the same. We will make our Christmas whenever our whole family (including my step-daughter) can be there.

As a kid, I always looked at is as more fun, and I'm so used to it now, I don't see it any other way! Good luck. It will get easier, I promise!

Wicked Stepmom said...

Hopefully your holidays all worked out wonderfully. It sounds like it may have been nice for you to be at your mom's on Christmas morning. That is one thing I miss about living in a different state from my parents, we stay home with our kids on Christmas day. Happy New Year to your family.

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Denise Burks said...

I've had 13 Christmas's with my stepchildren. Each Christmas was stressful. Even though this year was really, really lovely, I carried so much baggage from Christmas's past that I kind of ruined it for myself. Holidays are hard for the best of families. My new years resolution is to let go of the past. I am going to quit trying to paint the past into some kind of pretty (albeit twisted) Blended Family Norman Rockwell picture. It sucked some times. What am I going to do about it now? I am going to quit looking in that direction and focus on myself a little bit. Specificaly, I've found that blogging has been really helpful. It is actually better than going to the psychiatrist!

Thanks for sharing your stories!

Denise Burks