But since I'd already written this post for the holiday season, I wanted to share it. I hope each of you are able to find warmth in some part of this season, regardless of how unconventional your season may be.
Navigating two weeks of time off from school with four parents who work full-time and four sets of grandparents who wish to spend time with your family is not easy… especially when you add in religion (which church to attend, if any?) and Santa (does he visit?) and if Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is a Bigger Deal. If one house is significantly wealthier than another, older children may recognize a disparity in quality and quantity of gifts. Or Santa may bring both houses a Playstation. Or children may be in a Christmas pageant one year and absent from church the next.
I’m not going to pretend I have answers. My husband and I both have mothers who would prefer to spend every Christmas with us; neither of them live in this time zone. We are lucky that they are understanding of our desire to balance our time as a couple, as parents, and as children.
Many people love the families they were born into and are able to spend time with them during the holidays; many people love the families they were born into and are not. Many people don’t like their families or prefer their spouse’s family or prefer to travel or prefer to simply not have to eat three (or more) huge meals in the span of 24 hours.
And this is just the adults—before you add in whether it’s Mom or Dad’s year to have custody. Some children whose biological parents are not together spend part of the holiday with each parent. Some biological parents are able to spend Christmas together with their child(ren). Some parents do not see or speak to their child(ren) at all if it’s not their custodial day.
In every instance in which my husband is navigating a schedule—he does not have a court order detailing how it must legally work—we always try to keep my stepdaughter’s best interests in mind. Of course we want to see her. Of course we want to at least talk to her!
But what’s in her best interest is to be able to spend the whole day with one parent/family. What’s in her best interest is only to speak to her father, and not me, when she calls. These are our expectations, for now, and what seems to work best for her, for now.
We are able to make the time we have with her special, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday during the school week or the first day of the year. Every day is a holiday, and every meal is a feast. May the new year offer us all opportunity to give, receive, and feel love.