My divorce was fairly amicable. We mediated and were done in a few months. My youngest was a senior in high school when we separated and therefore there was no Parenting schedule. This also meant there was no set holiday schedule. We weren’t terribly concerned about it, in fact, quite honestly, I didn’t really think about it – until the first holiday rolled around.
For us it was Rosh Hoshanna, the Jewish New Year. Our son lives in California, so he wasn’t going to be around. We had typically spent the Jewish holidays with my ex-husband’s best friend’s family. Our daughter is very close with their same aged daughter. You see where this is going. Naturally, she assumed that would continue. Rather than being alone with me, she continued the tradition of going to her friend’s with my ex-husband. I managed to put together a dinner party with the one Jewish friend I had and a group of non-Jewish friends so that I wouldn’t be alone.
Then Thanksgiving rolled around. My older son was now home now. We had to negotiate who got Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately for the children, the burden was on them to decide how to play it. We managed to agree to alternate between Thursday and Friday each year. Since he lives out of town, that tradition has continued.
Once again this year, with the Jewish Holidays approaching, my daughter is faced with the dilemma of where to spend the holiday dinners. Since she has a tradition of being with her friend, I typically get second choice as to when I will see her. I know it’s coming, I know her dad will get priority on the holidays and yet every time, it hurts.
It hurts that she is put in this situation because of a decision her dad and I made. It hurts because I no longer get to continue the family traditions the way we used to. And it hurts because I know this will be an on-going challenge for our family.
Someone once told me “you don’t get over divorce, you just learn to integrate it into your life.” I guess she was right.