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The holiday season is upon us and for those of us divorced moms and dads, the holidays inevitably mean some of the upcoming days may be tinged with sadness, angst or downright Scrooge-ish behavior.  Recently I confronted the question of what holidays really mean.  I was forced to assess my own rigidity when it comes to holiday traditions and celebrations.

A few weeks ago, my former spouse and co-parent mentioned switching weekends around the Thanksgiving holiday because he was travelling to Texas to visit his parents.  His plan was to drive.  Our daughters had not seen their grandparents whom they absolutely adore since May.

This year was my year to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with my daughters.  Last year they were with their Dad on Thanksgiving Day while I pouted and ate pizza for what I declared to be my “un-Thanksgiving.”  This year, I looked forward to watching the Macy’s Day parade with my girls – a tradition I grew up with in my childhood home.  I was to host my family and make my very first turkey – complete with stuffing the bird myself.  I had all of the decorations and menu items planned. 

Eric, their Dad, said “I would never ask to take this holiday way from you.”  He remembered how important these days are for me.  “You should take them with you to see your family,” are the words that were uttered out of my mouth before my heart had really caught up to my brain.  What was I saying??  It was MY turn! I love the holidays and I love my holiday rituals.  But I knew in my heart that the right thing to do was to send them to see their far away family.

When my daughter, Anna, was excitedly talking to me about her upcoming Thanksgiving trip to Texas, I mentioned that we would do our dinner the Saturday before they left.  She replied “Yeah Mom – well we would have had Thanksgiving with Daddy this year anyway since we had it with you last year.”  I retorted, “No you didn’t.”  My all knowing 8 year old said “Yes Mom, we did. Remember…” and she went on to recite many lovely details of the Thanksgiving dinner we had last year.  She did not remember that we didn’t have dinner on the actual holiday.  She just remembered the celebration, love, and good food that surrounded our table on a Saturday of all days.

Angela Dunne