It’s been a bit. And I’m sorry. Lot’s of emotions going on at this time of year. Lot's of loss and loved ones who are hurting. Lot's of firsts to navigate.
Thanksgiving. My birthday. Christmas parties. Christmas. New Years.
So much to celebrate and so hard to do alone when you thought your marriage was forever.
How can you redeem it all?
Right now I feel like I have no right to speak into this because the tears just keep falling. I know the stuff to do and it’s hard to do. And so many have lost so much more than I have though I know that's it's not a comparison.
For me, Thanksgiving was quiet. It was unconventional, which is the first thing that I would say to do. Traditions are great but sometimes they wreak of the past and things that are no longer. So change them. That’s what we did. We had New York strip steak, a couple of sides, pumpkin pie with Bourbon in it (YUM), and set up the tree. We played cards and had a great time talking and laughing. I can honestly say that it was different from any other Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. And that made it oh-so-good. No stress. No toxicity. No drama. Just lots of love and laughter.
Then came my 58th birthday. My birthday was never a big deal to begin with, though if my sweet bonus daughter had anything to say about it, it would be. I shared a good weekend with out of town kids before my birthday. The day of my birthday, an amazing man friend wished me a happy birthday, I got calls from the kids, and went over to make s’mores with my grandkids and play with them. Low key and different.
Oh yeah. And my birth mom called me. Very different to have that phone call for the first time ever in my life.
Here we are approaching Christmas with the parties, programs and celebrations. What will that look like?
This being my second year divorced, things feel a little harder, which I heard would happen. Not because I miss our marriage, but because I miss what it was to represent. He was to be my best friend. My life mate. My partner for the rest of my life. That’s what I thought and it’s what I’m missing most. The idea. It’s painful to know he didn’t feel the same. I keep learning more that peels more of the onion.
And I have to move forward.
I’ll be going to my first ever dressy work party. Alone. I’m navigating all the things, seemingly for the first time ever.
So again, what will that look like? How can I do it?
And however I want to.
What do I mean by that? It means that all the things of the past are just that. The past. I don’t want those things. I have the memories with my kids, which were wonderful, but there were also so many things that weren’t so wonderful and I don’t want those back.
Moving forward I want it to look like I want it to look.
That means if I want non traditional food, I can do it. That means if I want to celebrate on a different day, I can do it. That means that if I want to buy a new dress for the dressy party, I can do it-or not. It means if I don’t want to listen to Christmas music, or make cookies, or decorate my house like a Hallmark movie, I don’t have to. I don’t have to send cards or take a Christmas picture or buy into all the activities that I thought were necessary in order to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas season. I can do it if I want to. But if I don’t want to, that’s okay too. I seriously get to do whatever I want to do and when.
And it’s really freeing.
Here’s what I want you to know. There’s no right way or wrong way to move forward. There’s just one day at a time and you get to decide what that will look like. Only you know what you can handle. Only you know what feels right for you. Only you know what you want to do this year. And remember that what you do this year doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do in subsequent years. It’s just this one. If you need to do something or be something different, then do it. There are no rules. No expectations. No judgments.
While I said that I’m alone, I know that I’m not. Jesus is with me. Always. And I’ll say that He is not standing over me telling me that I have to do certain things in order for this season to be ‘right’ for Him. Ultimately it’s about me and Him, celebrating His birth and all He’s done for me. I can do that in whatever way I want that feels doable and meaningful for me.
I want to redeem Christmas’ of the past that have been damaged for me and my kids. I actually don’t want anything to be the same. I want it to be healing and healthy for us all, whatever that may look like.
So friends….please hear me. Don’t think you have to do or be or accomplish something in order for this season to be right. Our society has made it into something it doesn’t need to be that honestly takes away from its true meaning. So you can decide this year to make it all you’ve always wanted, even if money is at a premium. Make memories. Spend time with friends and family who support you. Do something new. Give yourself a gift.
If you have small children, I’m sure there is some sharing you will have to do and that sucks. And you will get to make new memories with them when it’s your turn. It’s not about the day. It’s not about comparing what he can do and you can’t. Be you. You are amazing and beloved. Show them that. Let them see the strong and wonderful woman you are.
For those of us with older kids, there still may be sharing but it will be different. Our kids get to decide for themselves what it will look like. My kids have learned some really great boundaries since our divorce and I encourage them to implement them in whatever way they need to. I want them to be healthy adults and they are well on their way. Even if that means that they choose to not celebrate with me on a given day. It.Doesn’t.Matter.
The best thing you can do for yourself this Christmas season is to trust Him as your Lord and Savior and learn to love yourself. He is truly the best Gift ever!
What do you need to change this season in order to have peace?
Who is in your support system?
Thinking outside of the box, how will you redeem Christmas?