The holidays are no doubt a magical time of year. The twinkle of Christmas lights, the happy cheer from a childhood favorite Christmas song that you love to sing along with, the warmth from a good cup of peppermint hot cocoa and a loving hug from a true friend! All things that are happy to many but to a single mom sometimes these joys are only surface deep. When she’s alone, all this can awaken only the deepest, loneliest emotions and be a reminder of the moments when she was once a family unit with a spouse. Being surrounded by all those things that “make the season bright” and want to fall in love again can have someone wanting to go hibernate for the season! That momma is me this year, I know how that kind of loneliness feels and for a moment I wanted to avoid celebrating at all because I thought to myself “what does it matter if I don’t get to celebrate Christmas Day (and week) with my daughter this year?” Well, I quickly shook the grinch thoughts out of my head and decided that I can still make this month magical for my little girl and it doesn’t have to be just on Christmas Day! I made sure to get a Christmas tree ready for her so she could help decorate it today with me as we danced to her favorite Jackson Five Christmas playlist and I had the remainder of the house decorated full of Christmas cheer. Presents are wrapped under the tree and few decorations outside as well, I’m a minimalist this year because there’s just not enough time in the day! Also to make up for lost family time with her over the Christmas week, I booked us a four day trip to up state New York at the Mohonk Mountain House to bring in a joyous New Year! I will share the details of this trip in a future blog post!
Let’s not forget that this time of year is hard on the children as well. Today marked the first time my daughter expressed the feelings of sadness from the divorce and it took me aback when it was revealed. Before today I took such great pride in believing that we overcame the hurdle of emotional damage that our divorce could have caused her. I truly believed that she was young enough to not be affected and because my ex and I work so well co-parenting together that she wouldn’t have a problem. Sadly it’s not true and now reality has set in.
On our way home, from picking her up from her dad’s house, we had a fun time singing along together the new Frozen 2 song “Into the Unknown” but then something randomly strange happened, she burst into real tears and suddenly got seriously emotional. I asked her “what’s wrong and why are you crying?” She told me “I’m sad because I don’t always get to see my family.” I was a little confused, so I asked “what do you mean? What family are you talking about?” She responded by saying “I remember when you and daddy held me and we took a picture together.” That moment was something she remembered from when she was a year old (she’s a month shy of four years old right now). We had taken a cake smash photo session with her for her 1st birthday and we were very much a happy family at that time. Life was whole and so was our love. I couldn’t help but burst into tears as we cried together on our way home. She pleads with me “Mommy please don’t cry, I’m the only one that gets to cry!” and of course hearing this helps me to refocus and put myself together again. I reassured her that it’s okay to have feelings and it’s okay to cry about this. I don’t want her to ever hold in these feelings, she needs to let go of the grief as well.
I’m sure she watches at preschool all the families that are bundled together and unfortunately she is the only one in her class that is from a broken home. In fact, I didn’t realize this until her teachers held an open house and our “family” photos (we provided at the beginning of the school year) were displayed on a wall with all the other children’s family photos. For my daughter’s section of the board it displayed both my ex’s picture with her and mine with her side by side. It was embarrassing and made my heart hurt for her, she is different and it sucks to see your child being singled out.
Tonight I sit here wondering if I should provide counseling for my toddler now that I’m aware she is struggling too. My question for you, have you considered doing this for your toddler or have done this before? Is she too young for counseling?
With my questions aside I want to take a moment to pray for you and your little one(s)! I hope you find peace and strength to guide your children to healing and acceptance. I know the holidays are tuff but during this time I hope you surround yourself with a reminder of the love for them (and they have for you) and find victory in the little tasks that bring you joy! Don’t hide from the world, face it and love what it has to offer even if you live a different way of life from those around you!
With all my love,