I planned it all ahead. Knowing my kids would be with their Dad, and I would not be able to go be with my family, I made sure I had lots going on this Christmas.
I had a big project (cleaning out my closet), I had social invitations and plans (a massage, church, then dinner on Christmas Eve, movie/lunch plans Christmas Day), and I had back-up ideas (work, work on a presentation, more home projects). It was all very well thought out, down to the wine I made sure I had ready, just in case I needed it.
It really didn't matter. I could have booked every hour, every minute, and every second out. But, the second my mind went to them, I'd have the same feeling no matter what. I miss my children this Christmas. And, things don't seem right.
The wonderful thing is, I'm one neighborhood away from them, and their Dad has offered to let me come by briefly this morning so I can hug and kiss them and see what Santa brought.
It's not the same. I won't kid you.
Last night, when Santa came for my darlings, it was probably delivered by their Dad and his girfriend. I sat and drank wine and watched a movie and tried to not think about what I was missing. As my head hit the pillow, I let myself feel it for just a minute and I cried and prayed. I considered that I just did that once, and only for a few minutes, a huge accomplishment for the day.
This morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. I am not a morning person, but the past two days that I have had to sleep in, I have been up by 6 a.m. I'm not sure why. I guess my body feels something is off. Something is not right in the universe. Every bit of my being wants to be with them right now.
I know that I'm not the first person in the world to deal with this, and my situation is actually much better than a lot of divorced parents. Last night, I was thankful for what might seem like very small things to some people. A friend saved me a seat at church, so I didn't have to sit alone as I typically do. I met two friends for dinner after and we laughed and talked about our futures (we are all newly divorced).
Then, I drove home and instantly noticed all the cars on my normally empty street. Families celebrating. Once home, my eyes went to my Christmas card pictures people had sent. I always set them out and enjoy them throughout December. Every single one of them was of a family this year. The whole family. Together. This would be the first year that I didn't spent Christmas with any family whatsoever. That was one thing I hadn't thought about, actually...
I have learned a lot this year. I have had validation that what happened in my marriage needed to happen--we were not good for one another and our kids have happier parents now.
I have learned what it is like to have someone adore you and how it feels to be swept-off-your-feet and giddy in love. I have learned how hard a break-up can be when your kids become attached and also when you have to recognize something that isn't good for you even if you want it to be.
I have learned how cruel a person can be when he/she is confused and angry. I learned that, at some point, things are over and you can't love things back to normalcy--even in friendships.
I have learned to sit in a quiet home and just be. I have learned how to sleep and sleep well at night for the first time since probably my early 20s. I have learned that once I give myself a break on working out and eating right, I eventually return to missing being fit and eating right and I start trying to live right again.
I've learned things balance themselves out. A good glass of wine can really help during difficult times, but more than one is definitely too much. That having a sweet kitty crawl on you as you veg on the couch can make your heart smile, especially when he purrs. You heart can break and you can never think it will heal, but slowly it does.
Most of all, I know that all of this was part of God's plan for me. I wish that made this easier, but I have to have faith that better days are ahead and that I will find true contentment and peace. For the most part, I am happier today than I was a year ago. And, I truly hope that next year I can say the same.
Surviving Christmas without your family will change you, even if you plan it out to a "t." But maybe, just maybe, it will change you in good ways that make you never take things for granted ever again. God bless you and yours this Christmas!