I can look back and honestly say I don’t remember NOT ONE Christmas Eve or Day after my parents divorce. NOT ONE! Well wait..maybe one. I’ll get to that Jerry Springer episode in a moment.
I don’t know how any child of divorce can remember these Christ filled holidays, probably because Christ was nowhere to be found nor mentioned. Unless it was my father yelling “Jesus Christ!” then slamming down the phone after having to talk with my mother. The chaos and over stimulation of drama was so much…who would want to remember it?
If you’re a child of divorce you know exactly what I speak of. If not, may I paint you my Norman Rockwell holiday tradition?
It’s the week before Christmas break and us “divorcelet’s” are sitting and eating lunch in the cafeteria asking each other what our holiday schedules look like. The answers were typically like this: I’m with my mom until Christmas Eve at 6pm, then my dad and his girlfriend are picking me up and we’re going to some swanky restaurant. I’ll stay at his apartment until Christmas day, I have to be back to my mom’s by noon. Then I’ll stay with her until New Years Day and dad will pick me up at 10am.
Then there are the “every other year” divorcelet’s: I spent Christmas with my dad last year (I think) so I’ll be at my mom’s until New Years Eve, my dad will pick me up at 5pm and we’re going to eat pizza and rent movies and watch the New York ball drop.
Seems simple..right? WRONG! With all of this confusion stuffed into our stocking, you can’t forget the stocking fillers! Fillers are the extra fun that comes when you’re packing to go to your dad’s place and you bring your bag to the door, while anxiously dreading his honk and mom’s passive aggressive announcement of “YOU’RE father’s here”, but before this can happen she HAS to ask you THE QUESTIONS. “What are you taking to your fathers? You better not take your new toy because it might get lost at his house. I certainly hope you don’t plan on taking those nice clothes I bought you I’ll never see them again.” Everything you were just gifted have quickly turned into bargaining tools of her pathological conditional love.
When entering dad’s car you’re quickly whisked away with the same ol “Hi honey, Merry Christmas”. Then he gives you about 5 minutes to adjust to the atmospheric change to his world and then hits you with “So. What did you get from your mom?” He really isn’t interested for my sake, he’s actually measuring up his own gifts I’m about to shred open, to make sure he out witted her efforts.
Norman Fucking Rockwell! Merry Christmas…shitters full!
Nope, not full yet! I almost forgot the Jerry Springer episode.
It’s me and Sis’s 2nd Christmas as divorcelets, we’re spending this year’s Christmas eve and morning with our dad. We’re all headed over to his sister’s house for a party with his entire side of the family and his girlfriend and her mother. Little history lesson, dad’s had 4 affairs on our mother by this point and #4 is why he left our mom. One of his sisters and 2 of her daughters love our mom very much and are really pissed about the whole scenario and are at this party. The worse part is my oldest cousin is THE SAME AGE as my dad’s girlfriend and my cousin is tough as nails. She drove a dump truck at age 16 (cue banjo).
Alcohol is a MUST HAVE at any of his family events, lots and lots of alcohol. Us kids are even allowed to drink…as long as you’re over the age of 12. Standards people!
One drink leads to another drink, then one death look from my cousin leads to the Jerry Springer SMACK DOWN! Drinks tossed at each other, bowl of peanuts took flight with Rudolph and the littler divorcelets take off for their rooms in fear. Screaming, pointing, flailing arms (Italian style), mascara running, Aquanet in the eyes and my father in the middle like a black Friday giveaway gift. He’s being pulled at from all sides, pushed, hit and I believe his hairpiece got ripped off. (cue banjo) It was live action!
Did it get resolved? Nope. Slamming of the front door, followed by car doors and screeching of tires were the ringside bells. Dad’s #4 became known as my stepmother and the cause of a unhealing fracture that’s been painful since that very night. His family has never healed from it and it’s been 34 years.
I now have my husband and 2 son’s and I no longer have to split my holidays, because we have our own traditions now. Our Christmas is centered on Jesus and our deep respect and love for one another. Each year I pray for all the kiddos who have a divorced holiday, I pray for their heart, soul and strength. May they make it through unscathed.
If you’re one of the parents of a divorcelet, remember, your child didn’t ask for this divorce and they certainly DON’T enjoy splitting the holiday in half. Consider reading from the bible 1 Kings 3:16-28 A Wise Ruling, it’s a great metaphor for this exact moment.
Blessings and Merry Christmas my fellow divorcelets!