Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Festival of Sighs - Chrismakkuh chronicles

What a miracle, only 4 times in the past century has the first night of Chanukah fallen on the same date as Christmas eve! And every year, the same olympic feat of juggling holidays in families of divorce also begins, with less than miraculous results.  My 3 grown children gingerly make plans for breakfast with Dad, lunch with Mom, dinner with whomever has the best meal planned.  As hard as it is for me to navigate this scenario without coming off as demanding, I border on being slightly annoyed to mildly insulted. But it is equally as hard on the children, as they have told me: "Mom, this is how it is with children of divorce." Guilty, as charged!  Feelings need to be spared, and blows softened by secrets and white lies, which ultimately are uncovered.  As I tell the children, don't hide your plans from me; be honest, let me know everything, as painful as it will be! Yeah, right!

How to cope and survive without too much angst and anxiety?  I'm still not very good at it, as I try to suppress my exasperation and disappointment when I only get 4 hours out of the day. And sometimes I only get a 2 kid visit, not all 3 at at the same time. It really hasn't gotten any easier. For instance, this Thanksgiving they ate a huge meal at Dad's. I spent the day at a friend's house with her family. I made dessert - dirt cups, chocolate pudding with cookie crumbs and gummy worms, as requested.  They got home around 8 pm, obviously not hungry for dessert, as  But no matter, we all hung out, played Uno and jammed in the basement. Those few precious hours of family time were what I hung on to for the rest of the week.  Of course, the rest of the 4 day weekend was divvied up between Dad and me. Could not help feeling the tinge of sadness when they would leave.

And now this year, the Mother of all Holidays, Christmas, falls on the same day as Chanukah - go figure! And that complicates matters even further, because not only do the kids have to split the first day of Chanukah; they have to plan Christmas with significant others who celebrate! Horrors! So, as it stands, I have 2 kids for candle lighting on Dec. 24th, 3 kids for breakfast on the 25th.  The main latke/dreidel/Chanukah bash later on that day will have only 2 of my kids. And Dad gets them for Saturday night dinner and part of Sunday. Oy! It's enough to just give up and celebrate Festivus.

It probably won't get any easier, but with enough red wine and egg nog, to soothe the savagery of Holiday Jenga, it may be manageable.  And with this thought, I wish you all a stress-free holiday season.