Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Have Yourself a Lonely Christmas...

Usually I'm a pretty upbeat guy. I've learned over the past few years to focus on the positive and to be grateful for what I have, not resentful for what I don't. It's tough sometimes given the situation we single parents find ourselves in. I didn't want a failed marriage, certainly didn't want to spend time away from my daughter, and only chose to leave my marriage because I was getting no help from my Ex in trying to work things out.

Last year was the first Christmas we spent separated. Due to the custody agreement, Miss M spent Christmas with me. This year, it's my turn to sit at home. Miss M is spending Christmas with her mother and some friends on Long Island, so I won't see her from the 23rd to the 26th. I know, it could be a whole lot worse. She comes back to me the afternoon of the 26th and stays until the evening of the 28th. Really not so bad, right? Then why am I having a hard time with it?

Truth is, if money weren't an issue, I'd be a stay at home Dad. My career is good and I'm relatively successful, but as I got into my mid 30's I stopped defining myself by my career and became more concerned with the happiness of my personal life. As long as I can pay my bills, my daughter can live comfortably, and I don't hate going to work every day, my job is really just necessity, nothing more. I'd much rather be at home playing with Miss M and her Barbies, baking cookies, and digging in the sandbox. No such luck.

Being relatively new to this single parent thing, days off of work and downtime are kind of hard for me. True, I have Hot Girl to hang with and she's GREAT, but when we're together and Miss M isn't there, I feel bittersweet. And then I feel guilty for feeling that way. Hot Girl deserves 100% of my attention when she's there given the tremendous understanding and flexibility she gives me due to the custody schedule (we've not yet done a reintroduction). She gets it, she really does. She'll spend Christmas day through the 28th with her folks (to which I'm invited but have declined since I need to be back on the 26th). I'm ok with that and have a host of friends and invites for afternoon Christmas parties.

Still, there's that hole I'll feel: the absence of my little girl sharing her new toys with Daddy, spending the morning in our jammies drinking hot chocolate, and going outside to try out our new skates and scooter. We'll do that on the 27th, so am I being a baby? Maybe. I just know I feel a bit sad today.

How do you all cope with it? Is this feeling just a part of the deal?


Anonymous said...

BCD - - - I'm right there with you. This is my daughter's third Christmas, and I've spent the first two with her, without the ex. The first, me and the ex were technically still together but he had gotten in some trouble and was... ahem... away. This year is her first Christmas away from me and I'm .D.R.E.A.D.I.N.G. it.

I'll be with family but honestly don't even want to be. I want to stay home and pretend it's a normal day, not Christmas, so that it won't hurt so much that she's not there for it. But that's not what I'm doing. I'm staying as busy as possible to avoid sitting around and thinking about the fact that she's not with me. I'll let you know how my strategy works out. I'm not anticipating much success, but I'm hoping it makes it somewhat tolerable.

We're going to have our own Christmas when she gets back.... but still. The hole I feel in my heart already feels larger than that black hole in outer space I'm always hearing about, with the gravity that crushes planets. Ouch.

Danielle said...

I really do feel lucky that I never have to share my daughter with anyone. I am sorry that you have to feel this way.

MindyMom said...

Luckily I always have Christams with my kids.

For my older three kids' father's familiy is big on T-Giving so we worked it out in the divorce that he would always have that holiday and I would always have Christmas. As for LO, her father has yet to have any regular visitation with her so I guess I'll cross that bridge when/if it ever happens. But I cannot imagine a Christmas without her. It would be heartbreaking, for all of us I think, to not have her here where she belongs with me and her sisters.

It's good that you have some things scheduled to keep busy though. And the day after is not SO bad! As you said, could be worse.

T said...

Aw... such a sweet daddy. You make my heart melt!!

Thankfully, my ex and I live in the same town and are still comfortable with sharing the holidays. We'll go to his place on Christmas eve and my girls will open their presents there. Then the kids and I will return to my house that night. On Christmas Day, the ex will come over before we wake up and spend the morning with us. I am very thankful because I would feel sad too. I can't imagine not spending a holiday with my girls! I'm sure it'll come to that at some point though.


Big hugs!! Hope you have a nice day-after-Christmas!

Senorita said...

I'm sorry about what you are going through. I can't give you any advice, since I am not in your situation.

I hope it gets better. Being a child of divorce I can assure you that Miss M knows that you love her very much and that's the most important. Kids are more resilient than we think.

jenn said...

I'm thankful that I don't have to share Shiloh with anyone. I'm sorry your Christmas will be lonely. I would feel the same way if it were me.

On the upside though, Miss M will probably love having two Christmas'. I know that doesn't make it easier for you though.

Anonymous said...

Well BCD it looks like it's just the two of us with holes in our hearts this Christmas!

Thanks for the comment. I'm hoping you're right, and that it does get easier. Rose's first doll was a gift and I haven't been able to find it anywhere. At this point Hompala is queen, and I'm looking for a clone to have in my back pocket, just in case. Now that you mention it though, I might have to get a few extra to keep on hand!

I was just in the city last weekend with Rose - even thought the weather was horrendous - and I've decided that we're going to do it again ASAP. Not only did she love taking the train in, it was a cheap day and great exercise just walking around with her in her stroller. Also I have a bunch of friends that live in the city so it works out great. Once the weather gets nice again we'll definitely be doing it more often.

Momma Sunshine said...

There's one thing that learned throughout this whole process, and it's that it's okay to feel whatever it is you're feeling. So if you're feeling sad and lonely: that's okay. It's a perfectly natural reaction to what is going on.

I think you'll find that as life goes on, you'll find other ways to fill that emptiness inside. It's not that Miss M will be any less important to you, but it's that you'll be making yourself a higher priority in your life. Because pursuing your own happines is one of the best things you can do for your child. A happy daddy makes for a happy Miss M.


Maureen | Tatter Scoops said...

Your post brought me to tears as I too will not spend Christmas with my son for the very first time. I can so relate that I wrote a blog post about it, inspired by your post, The Single Motherhood post and the other single moms I met on twitter tonight who will be alone. Hope you don't mind.

May you find peace even when you can't be with your little girl this Christmas and it will get easier for you.

@SteppedAway said...

I am an Ex-Stepmother, who had to watch the agony of the holidays & try not to let it affect me. My two cents? It's not natural for kids to have to spend time away from either parent. So, you do your best...tell them you love them, call them on that special day so they know you are thinking of them..and you go on. It's a day. While it's a holiday, yes, there are some of us..who don't have our own children (yet) and would LOVE consider yourself blessed to have them in your life at all? Just another viewpoint.

I know it will be hard. Hold your chin up, and feel blessed for all that you do have - not the four days that you'll be absent only physically.

Best to you.

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