The plan from the original divorce decree was to just have one big family Christmas every year. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a bit optimistic for where we are now at the six-month mark, so Dave and I decided to trade off every year instead. This year Christmas falls on Dave's week, so I get the kids for Christmas eve until bedtime and for four hours on Christmas morning after they tear through their Santa gifts at dad's place. (So, you know, my doorbell will be ringing before 7AM.) I think this is a pretty fair arrangement. Next year, he'll get Christmas Eve and the kids will wake up in their beds at my place before getting four hours with their dad.
We'll make it work. I'm just glad we both get to see them every year. And the kids are stoked because Santa is coming to BOTH HOUSES.
My plan for tonight is to start up some new mom's house traditions. After a final round of last minute shopping (How late is Fred Meyer open? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?), we're going to make a very special Christmas Eve mac n cheese dinner. Together. It ain't gonna be the easy stuff from the purple bunny box either.Tillamook extra sharp cheddar. Real cream. Fresh pasta. I want it to be speshul. I want it to be FUN. Memorable. Uncomplicated.
Then we'll bake some cookies for Santa, finish wrapping all our presents and play Nintendo until someone becomes the First Annual Christmas Eve Mario Kart champion. (If I win, the grand prize will be WINE.)
I'm looking forward to it like you can't believe. (The time with my kids, not the wine.)
On Saturday, the plan is to tear through all the presents, play more Nintendo, eat leftovers and, if I'm lucky, cuddle up and take a big fat nap together in my bed. After I drop them back with their dad, I'm gonna head over and do some celebrating with the bald man and his daughter. Christmas is somewhat new to them (long story), so the novelty hasn't worn off yet and it's utterly delightful to watch. I'm honored I get to be a part of it.
Then I pick up my parents at the airport. They'll be here for a week and even though I have to work the whole time, I'm crazy excited about their visit. The kids are even crazier. Grandparents are way more fun than mom.
Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS. And hell, wish me luck.
Finally, because I'm really not as angry as that last post made me sound (I just felt the need to finally address the pink elephant in the room!), I wanted to republish what is HANDS-DOWN the best blog comment I have ever received (out of 11,000+ comments, mind you). I first opened this comment while I was stuck in traffic on the freeway and by the time I got to this part, I had to pull over because I couldn't even see the windshield through my ugly cry.
Canadian Rachel wrote:
Amanda, making your happiness a priority is not selfish. It only seems selfish to the martyrs of this world who need to justify their own continued suffering. I mean, if YOU don't have to keep suffering, then that implies that NO ONE has to keep suffering, in which case they've been wasting their time suffering! Like idiots! You can see why they would get defensive about this.
My suffering friends: you are not idiots. You have been misinformed, however, that happiness is optional. It is not optional. What if we called it "sanity" instead? Is sanity optional? Is health optional? To use Amanda's own phrasing, is breathing optional?
If we really want our children to be happy - and I think that's a point upon which we can all agree - sacrificing our own happiness is not the way to achieve this. They internalize everything we do; they are exquisite barometers of our mental health. If they see their parents suffering, squelching dreams and living without love, that's what they will do when they grow up. But if they see a parent value herself, if they see her step forward and say "I matter, and my dreams matter!", they have a better shot at valuing and caring for themselves. They will understand how to do it.
All children deserve sane, healthy, happy, caring parents, together or apart, forever and ever, amen.
Amen, indeed. And to all a good night.