Breaking the Cycle to Step Forward

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Change can be hard. Ok, let’s face it, change sucks sometimes. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something new is not always fun, but typically after you do it you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! This holiday season was a difficult one for me as my ex husband and I agreed not to celebrate together with our daughters. I know and you know that normal divorced families don’t do that. But we did and it gave me a sense of normalcy and feel like there was a neon sign over my head flashing she’s alone!
Being the mature adult that I am there was a lot of crying, arguing, and texting back and forth about the subject. I sobbed to my friends, my ex-mother-in-law, and my family. All of whom were sympathetic. But there were three people who were not sympathetic and for that I am grateful. Here I am this strong, single Mom who works full time, and is working on my graduate degree letting this bump in the road take me down. Did I still have my daughters Christmas morning? Yes. Did they get to wake up in their bed to Santa’s arrival? Yes. So why am I being so selfish? Good question. Because I want it my way. I want the best of both worlds.

However, I knew it was time to break the cycle and not have my ex husband so involved in my life. It’s easier that way, but in the long run it’s not really. I had to really think about why I was so upset and was it hurting my daughter to spend a few hours on Christmas Eve with their Dad whom they love. It wasn’t. I knew it was me and not wanting for our traditions to change. Why couldn’t it just be the way it always be? Well, because it’s not that way anymore. So then I had to accept that as well – life is not the same anymore. That’s scary stuff. Realizing that the life you had for 17+ years is no longer there and there is no security blanket anymore really scared me.
Thankfully I surround myself with this amazing support network of friends and family. They assured me there was no reason to be scared or upset. All I had to do was look back over the past three years and see what an amazing job I have done raising my daughters – alone. Sure he has visitation, but it’s me there day in and day out – even when they’re not home. My family might be minus one person, but we still have a family. We are a family who is close, loving, strong, and has many amazing memories with just the three of us. It didn’t have to be a foursome.
On Christmas Eve morning as my daughters left I cried. I am human. As I gathered my stuff together to head to a friend’s house for the day to bake cookies and share in their holiday traditions, I received a text from my oldest daughter telling me how much she loved me and wished I was there too. But, she wrote, we are ok and tonight we will be home and tomorrow will be wonderful. At that moment I realized this was my fear, not theirs. They’re fine and that’s what should matter to me most.

The best part was I survived. My girls said this was probably their best Christmas ever so that meant I did something right. Traditions are great; I love them and have many fond memories of my own childhood ones. But, sometimes new traditions are what are needed for new beginnings.

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