Christmas In A Broken Home

Christmas came and went again just like it does every year.
Every year there are traditions. Things we do basically the same each holiday season.
So much has changed over the years though. Most specifically the past 3. I still can’t believe it has been 3 Christmases.
The first was all very new, we weren’t sure exactly what was going to happen. He came over that morning and we all still spent it together. The morning was fine it was afterwards that was really tough. That whole year was very painful. Christmas Day specifically though was full of raw emotion. He left our home, our kids, to go finish his day with her. That was hard. There was a lot of anger. A lot of resentment. A lot of regret, hurt, tears.
On Christmas.
Last year was so bad I hate even thinking about it. Last year was the true beginning of the end for our family. It was already broken but Christmas sealed the deal. Christmas took “broken” to a whole new level. I spent most of my holiday break running the kids around and trying to make sure everyone who wanted to see them was able to. I didn’t stop. Not once. I went from house to house and met him or his family at their convenience. He showered the boys with gifts and put our daughter in her place. If she wasn’t sure how he felt about her in November, you can bet your life she knew her place on December 25th 2013.
A lot has happened in this past year though. There have been several gaps with him not coming around for months. Several court dates and several back and forth conversations. This past year we lost our house. I had to face the fact that I just couldn’t give the kids the life I wanted to give them completely on my own.
Through all of that we heard from very few people in his family. That is really the first time I called them “his” family because I was honestly just to naive to realize that’s what they are. I considered them our family. My family. My children’s’ family. Just because he and I weren’t together in my mind, didn’t affect the way anyone loved each other. That’s very wrong and probably one of the hardest lessons learned when dealing with divorce.
Divorce does a lot to you. If you really, truly deal with your divorce, you’re forced to look deep into yourself. For me it was about finding me, figuring out why I married him in the first place and why I failed. No matter how you look at it, whether the whole thing was a mistake or if he cheated, if you cheated, regardless of where the blame falls or why you are faced with a divorce – it’s a failure. Your marriage failed. Period. There’s guilt in that. There’s sadness and grieving and loss. There’s binge eating, starving yourself, crying, laughing, moping… You go through a lot of phases and emotions.
So do your children.
Those phases and emotions last awhile. For us its been about a year.
All year.
A year of going through a lot, of needing a lot. A lot of support and love. At Christmastime you tend to reflect on your year. You sit back and think about everything the year has taught you, given you, taken from you. You reflect on all the relationships you have lost, gained, built, renewed.
At Christmastime we tend to be more forgiving, more loving, more kind.
As we sat in church on Christmas Eve and listened to the true meaning of Christmas as a family, I got a little damp in the eyelids. My kids might not have a lot right now or they might have more than some; whatever, they know without a doubt how much I love them though, that isn’t material. That isn’t once a year, I’m in town and I bear gifts…
I am so absolutely in love with my children, all year-long, every single damn day. I want nothing more than to wake up every day and be the best Mom I can possibly be.
Nothing.
They got a text from a family member while we were sitting in church. Both of them went to show me their phones and I looked away. Maybe that was a copout. The easy way of not having to make a decision. Telling them to decide what they wanted to do is iffy with me still. On one hand I feel like I should tell them to reply or to call, on the other I really don’t care anymore. We have dealt with so much and the carelessness of some people… Why should I have to deal with them? I didn’t marry them, I don’t owe anyone anything anymore and honestly, if he was around your time would be then. That should anger you and help you whip his rear end into correction mode.
I don’t know. All I know is that I love my kids and I know that other people love them too. They might be having a hard time dealing and coping with all the changes in our lives so they don’t know how to behave. I can try to figure out the reasons behind it all I want. It doesn’t matter. My kids know that I would go to the ends of the earth for them and that is what they expect of anyone else who tells them “I love you” – sometimes I think that isn’t good. Maybe it’s asking too much. Other times I think to myself, if I can do it…
When we left services and went home to start our baking I sent a text, a text that said “Merry Christmas, the kids all love you. It’s still not to late.” That text didn’t get a response, the kids didn’t get anything from him either. I wasn’t surprised and no comments were made about not hearing from him. I don’t know what is sadder… I know I sent the text just in case, just in case it was because of me. It was my way of saying if I can tell you Merry Christmas, don’t you think you can find a way to tell your children?
Christmas in a broken home isn’t ideal. There aren’t as many gifts or as much food on the table. It actually isn’t even very enjoyable.
This year was “different” as well but I can say with complete confidence; this Christmas was not a Christmas in a broken home. This Christmas was a complete Christmas, full of love and happiness and noise and messes for me to clean up. This Christmas as my baby said “was perfect” Everyone that should have been there either was or called. I didn’t rush around pleasing people. I woke up when my babies woke me up, I cooked and baked with the little loves of my life and I soaked in every giggle, smile and piece of chocolate on their faces I could.
Daddy wasn’t there, Daddy didn’t call or even text to say Merry Christmas.
As hard as it is for some people to understand this and as hard as it was for me to wrap my head and my heart around it – nothing was missing. Not this year. This year we pulled together. This year we found our home. This year I have stuck up for myself and this year I did not bend for people who were only ready to bend for one out of 365 days. It might seem mean, selfish, uncaring – whatever you want to try to make it but it was actually the complete opposite. This Christmas I could feel so much more love than I ever have. This year it was about the kids, what the kids wanted and what made the kids happy and that in turn made Christmas in my little happy, broken home perfect.

-S

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