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