Christmas is… Family and egg nog and presents under the Christmas tree and family. Did I already say family?
Well, I haven’t really spoken much about my divorce because it doesn’t really need to be rehashed over my blog. But then, it’s been six years since we split, and my mind has been put back in a place of love again towards the time that caused us to break down. I think it’s interesting to note certain parts of the life of divorce. Not to make a point or show anger or share what I think should be made visible to who and why, but it is to note that these are things the divorced family goes through.
It is the first year I didn’t see my kids on Christmas Eve or Christmas. It was a series of choices, some mine, some his, some by the kids. And I found myself in shock at about 2PM on Monday, Dec 23. So the point to be taken is whether your Christmas shock was not seeing your kids for the first time hours before… OR you have a death in the family, or your friends didn’t show up or whatever reason you felt that same sense of pain… I write this for you, for us.
I think it doesn’t matter what puts us there, and I know that because my cousin called me later in the day with the same feelings. And no kids and really not a celebrator of Christmas in general, due to her Jewish traditions.
And I thought to myself… the pain of loss or disappointment or fear or abandonment go deep because we can all find a way to attach it to our lives, to our moments, to our story. But when I spoke to my cousin, I remembered being in the grocery store the day before. In California, at my bestie’s house, with her family, in health and happiness, welcomed with open arms and the purest love… and I was choking back tears. For a moment I could see only my children’s faces and feel the disappointment of knowing we will never, could never, would never be a family again. And that the bitch of divorce is that you still have to try to get along with someone you couldn’t get along with married. And it will always be this way. Always and forever. That was a distinct moment of singular and subtle acceptance.
And then my mind transported me back to the moment I was actually in, and I opened my eyes and wipered the tears away. I couldn’t decide which gift in front of me to buy or not buy… because my grief was fueling my mind’s feeling of helplessness. But here I was, in beautiful California, with people I had been able to call literally at 2PM and start driving by 3PM to be with them. That’s family. That’s community. That’s love. That’s the life I had set out to build for myself and my children. And I had done it. My kids were safe with their dad and their grandparents, having the most magical Christmas. Their dad does holidays better than I, always. Of course they should be there for Christmas. And they were happy.
And I was going to be at freaking Disneyland, with my beautiful friend and her family. I have known my friend for at least 11 years now. And I am so lucky because that’s the love we both put into the universe, the time we have committed, and if my kids were there, they would have been welcomed with the same love too.
I let the tears dry, not without noting each feeling in them as they vaporized. They were all my feelings. And anyone else’s who has ever been disappointed. But then at the bottom is the reality that everything on my life list had been checked off. And I was in the happiest place I could possibly be, both literally and figuratively (Hello, Disneyland). And in two days I would see my kids again, and love them to pieces.
So to things that make us cry. To feeling loss. To feeling deep sadness and moments of regret. And then to moments later, knowing that no matter how sad we are, no matter how valid the pain, there is also in that very SAME moment, the realization that we are grateful for everything we do have. And realize the immensity of that! Life isn’t always what you thought it would be, and it probably shouldn’t be like the picture painted.
Love and life and gratitude is a mixture of choice and realization and a little bit of pixie dust. Because I relish the idea of a little magic.
To you this week as you prepare for New Year’s Eve!
You are NEVER alone in your pain, although your experience may seem unique. And you are never without hope. So reach out in that moment to celebrate the loves you DO have, the moments you have yet to create that you haven’t even imagined.
Love to you all today!