Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Holiday of Peace

Anybody ever feel like this?

So it's almost the holidays. A great opportunity for me to pick up my blogging again. I often go through periods of time where I'm not sure what to write about. It's easy to write about the events/emotions leading up to a parents' divorce, but how do you continue on after? When that divorce has become apart of your everyday life? When you begin to forget what your "normal" life was like before the divorce?

So with that, I resume my blogging (and resolve to continue staying consistent)...

The holidays are always interesting when your parents are divorced, aren't they? So much to juggle and inevitably someone will complain that they're not getting enough time with you, etc. etc. For me, last Christmas sucked (for lack of a better word). My parents hadn't even begun the divorce process yet and there was so much tension, I sometimes felt like I couldn't breathe. Everyone was walking on eggshells, especially since we weren't sure where the future of our family was headed.

Now it's official and we all know what to expect. But that doesn't mean it'll be any easier. It's the first year that I'll be making the rounds to visit Mom and Dad separately. And when you're married and have another family to think about, it becomes even more difficult. So much extra traveling and compromises and's exhausting. But somehow it has to be done. My only other choice would be to not see my family at all and I don't think that will help me continue to move forward (which I've been trying desperately to do). 

So on Christmas Eve I will be seeing both my parents (one in the morning/afternoon, one in the evening). Luckily they live close by to one another so it shouldn't be too much of a trip. But what I wouldn't give to be able to have us all in the same room again. Do the rest of you ACOD's feel that way?

But it doesn't mean we can't start to form our own traditions. Or even keep some of the old ones (for example: my dad, sister and I will be going out to breakfast on Christmas Eve morning, as we've been doing since I was 11 or 12.) Trust me, I hate change. I hate that I have to form new traditions. But maybe after a few years, those traditions will start to stick. Maybe they will even begin to feel normal.

So for all of you who are dealing with divorced parents (or any other difficult family issue this year), I encourage you to do what you need to do to keep yourself sane. Whether that be eating your favorite foods, leaning on the support of your friends, or starting new it. It's important to focus on what makes you happy, even in the midst of an all-around unhappy and devastated situation. It's also important to set boundaries. Don't do things you don't want to do. If driving 3+ hours in one day to see family is going to leave you miserable and emotionally drained, then shift things around to better accommodate your schedule. Remember: you don't have to do everything. You can't be in 5 different places at once. People will want your time...maybe even be fighting for it. But you don't have to give everyone what they want (nor CAN you). So make it a point to sit down and figure out the holiday schedule beforehand. Figure out what you can (and can't do). And if you're in a particularly tough situation the day of, drinking always help (but too much can put you in an entirely different situation as well!). 

And remember...don't compare yourself or your situation to anyone else's. I find it a struggle to hear about others' plans for the holidays with their families. It makes me jealous. It also makes me frustrated and leaves me wondering why I'M the one with the divorced parents and a family that won't all be together again. Frankly, it leaves me feeling sorry for myself and feeling even worse than I did before. Prepare yourself beforehand. People will be talking about their holiday plans. They'll be excited, and why shouldn't they? They have a right to. But you're struggling because you don't have that. And your feelings are valid and shouldn't be overlooked. But be careful not to dwell on what you don't have vs. what others have. It'll make you feel worse and possibly even make the holidays worse than they need to be. So let yourself feel sad, mad, frustrated...whatever you need to feel. But then pick yourself up and focus on the little, happy things in your life. I'm not saying it's easy or that I have it all figured out (lord knows I don't...just ask my husband). But I get how hard it is to hear about happy families and wish yours was like that. Remember: not everyone's lives are as happy as they appear to be. Let's be honest: we all have crap to deal with. If it's not one thing, it's another. Remember that and then congratulate yourself for getting through another holiday season with a crappy family situation.

Anyone else have any other tips for dealing with tough family situations during the holidays? Feel free to leave a comment below. And if you're really anxious about an upcoming family situation and need to talk, please email me at

Happy Holidays to you all! Wishing you courage, strength...and peace.

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