As I was preparing this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, I was thinking back on Thanksgivings past, specifically those Thanksgivings when my boys and I were in the throes of divorce and and the subsequent years of post-divorce custody and visitation battles — that’s 12 Thanksgivings altogether.
Those holidays were so incredibly stressful, for me and for my kids. First, there’s the inconsistent one-year-here-next-year-there part. Then there’s the awkward trying-to-create-new-traditions piece. In our case, there was always a last-minute wrench thrown in by Dad, just to keep everyone guessing. And if you think your kids don’t realize when you’re pretending to be happy but you’re really not, guess again.
It’s all so sad.
But now it’s completely different.
My now-grown children love the holidays again. And so do I. Those traditions we clumsily cobbled together during the bad years? Now we wouldn’t trade them for anything. And our blended family has blended its menu to incorporate all of everyone’s favorites, from both households. It’s really a beautiful thing.
And the most beautiful thing of all is that there is now time to enjoy it all. You can’t imagine how much more relaxed you feel when the stress of divorce is lifted. I used to fantasize about what I would do with all of the reclaimed time I would have when it was all over.
Well, this year I baked homemade rolls. I could not have even conceived of a feat of this magnitude back in the dark days. In fact, most of those years, I either forgot to buy rolls or bought them and forgot to heat them. I was frazzled all of the time, but never more than on a holiday.
I tell you this not to brag about my mad baking skills, but to help you realize that you are not alone. So many of us have suffered through what you are going through now. But it does end. And there is a fabulous life waiting for you on the other side. As a divorce coach, I get to watch women make this amazing transformation every day.
So if you had an especially bad Thanksgiving this year, start dreaming about the ones you’ll have when this is all over, and what you’ll be adding to your post-divorce menu.