Monday, November 24, 2008
I can face anything! Almost.
My parents were divorced when I was 11. I was pretty determined not to do the same thing to my kids. That's the way I looked at it too, divorcing was doing something to my children. When it happened, the day we told the kids was the worst day of my life. That still stands.
I don't remember exactly when my family started spreading out. My sister moved south to West Virginia with her family. My oldest brother moved to California with his job at an airline. My other brother at some point - moved to New Jersey. I wasn't close to my dad and I was married with children by the time he moved to Nebraska with his wife and child. But before he moved - my mom moved out of state. I was literally the only one that stayed in the Midwest in the suburbs of Chicago where I was raised.
Since it ended up that I had no family close by I relied heavily on my in-laws to be the nuclear and extended family I had always wanted my kids to have. My husbands parents were (and are) still married, my sister-in-law was married with 5 kids, my brother-in-law was single and still living at home. There was a great-grandma, family friends, and aunts and uncles. On holidays everyone came to "Grandma & Papa's house." There was always good food, noise, and complaining about the men watching football while the women cleaned up. Like any good American family.
So it was that after the divorce, even though I told my ex-husband that he would never have his kids on Christmas morning (anger, much?) unless he came to my house, I encouraged my kids to spend every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinner at Grandma & Papa's house. And they have, unless for some reason Grandma & Papa weren't hosting a dinner that year. I can count on one hand how many of those holiday dinners that I have spent with my kids in the last 10 years. And that's been fine with me. I usually relax, have a nap which is an integral part of any holiday, and if I haven't cooked myself - they have always brought me food. I got the gain - without the pain!
People have doubted whether I minded staying home but I never have. I felt good believing I was doing what was best for my kids and really - I am very comfortable with my own company. Right now though, I feel a funk coming on. Not because the kids are going to their grandparents house for Thanksgiving. But because I am finally starting to realize that my kids will actually be leaving to lead their own lives not too long from now. That's what we raise them to do, to go and be independent and successful and happy out there in the world.
But I'm not ready.
I'm not ready at all.