At the time of my last post I hadn’t yet started my Christmas shopping. I was successful and the holidays were wonderful. The kids enjoyed themselves and all was great until Monday morning when I was trying to get them dressed for school. I lost it. Good news though. I found some help and next week I should have some new tips under my belt. The trick is to apply them consistently. I’m a good student and more than ready to learn.
The most popular question I was asked this year was whispered up close and under breath. “How do you two, you know, deal with Christmas and share the kids?” I always wonder if I’m being asked out of concern or sheer curiosity, like a side show. I wonder too if they then imagine themselves doing it too.
Co-parenting your children has it’s advantages from a distance. There’s the time to yourself that parents so dearly crave and not having to answer to anyone but yourself, which married couples sometimes envy.
A friend once told me that children will make you or break you. I think that’s true. I’ve seen it countless times. Seemingly great couples coming apart at the seams due to lack of rest, differing parenting styles and boredom with each others company after the children have shut their eyes.
What I would say to anyone contemplating a walk over here on the greener grass is that it is artificial turf. If you love your spouse and can find that spot that makes you want to be in their arms, then tough it out. Yes, children adapt and more than 50% of their classmates have a single or co-parent relationship, but it’s easier with two parents together, assuming you are not fighting endlessly and are able to be a good role model as a spouse.
This year, the kids’ dad officially became a live-in couple with his significant other. I’m still on my own. The conversation went something like:
“Well, I’m scheduled to have them Christmas Eve.”
“Ah, no,” was my curt reply.
“Actually, I haven’t asked them what they want to do,” he said.
“Ask them? It’s not up to them. I want them here with me Christmas Eve. You can come and stay the night like last year. Your girlfriend is welcome too. But, they are not waking up with someone else Christmas morning.” I was friendly, but determined.
To my delight, when I did mention it, they said they wanted Dad to come over and stay the night and then go to Dad’s later. Korey pondered, “I don’t know what Dad will do with Kristen.”
Later, face to face, I told their Dad that if I wasn’t on my own, things might be different, but I am not ready to spend Christmas Eve alone. He said I could go to his place. “Maybe next year,” I conceded.
So, Christmas Eve I took the kids to my work party and then dropped them off with Dad around 2:30. I then went home to prepare the house and start the turkey for the next day’s feast.
The kids and their Dad came over around 8:00 and their Dad went to bed with them. I stayed up to wait for Santa, but fell asleep and dammit, missed him again.
The boys woke me up around 7 and we headed down to check the spoils.
The only weird thing that happened was that our Christmas tree, which had been up for 3 weeks, standing proudly in the corner, hit the floor unexpectedly just as their Dad’s girlfriend walked through the door. When she left, she joked that she was going to see what trouble she could cause at her parent’s house. I graciously told her I didn’t think it was related, but have to admit, it was a pretty funny coincidence.
After dinner, Brian picked up his girlfriend and the 5 of us went to visit Brian’s parents who are both sadly struggling with illness. Brian was grateful that I went along as it makes his Mom happy to see the kids seemingly unaffected by our separation and that we can all get along so well.
I then had Christmas night to myself and most of Boxing Day, but I was on vacation until January 5 so had them everyday and boy did we have fun. Until, of course, Monday morning. I’m too hard on myself, I know.