Why the holidays are tough for us

One of the challenges for me as a Dad going through a divorce, is managing the holidays. I don’t mean fighting over who gets to see who because thankfully we don’t have that problem.

I’m referring to things like simply navigating the day. Before all of this happened, we had our holiday traditions and everyone had a role to play. When people are missing, the role goes unfilled and it sometimes changes everything.

We were in a remote location with no other people around. We took out masks off for the picture. This was earlier this in the Fall.

Even if the traditional activities are still possible, there can be emotional baggage associated with them, especially for the kids.

This is our second Christmas on our own and we’re still finding our footing. We haven’t really established any traditions that we can call our own. The kids don’t really want to do the ones from before and I can understand that. This is also the first time we’ve ever experienced a holiday where we can’t see our family or friends. Not having traditions to fall back on has made this Christmas less of a holiday and more like any other day.

That really bothers me because I want my kids to have a childhood they can look back on fondly.

The truth is, sometimes we’re just making it through the day. Since COVID, there is some going through the motions happening. This isn’t unique to us but it is challenging nonetheless.

I wanted to have the house caught up by now but that didn’t happen. We’ve made progress and that’s great but I want to improve our immediate environment and that’s proving to be difficult for a number of reasons.

Depression plays a role here, as does burnout. Maybe those sounds like excuses but these are very real challenges. I’m exhausted, stressed out and worried about the future. Let me tell you something else. The isolation and lack of adult contact is soul crushing at times.

To be completely honest, it’s really hard to pick apart COVID lockdown vs starting over. By that I mean, it’s hard to say which one is playing a bigger part in our lives right now. It’s important that we build a new path forward but it’s hard to do that in the middle of a pandemic. At the same time, if we weren’t starting over, there wouldn’t be a need to forge a new path.

Maybe that doesn’t make sense.

When I close my eyes and picture us celebrating Christmas, it’s much different than it is in our current reality. I want to establish traditions that mean something to us and that help to create amazing memories. These memories help to get us through challenging times like we’re currently in.

Anyway, all is not lost. The kids are happy and as far as they’re concerned, I think they’d say they had an awesome Christmas. I suppose that’s what really matters. As a parent, I always feel like they deserve better but if the goal is to keep them safe, fed, clothed, sheltered, loved and cared for, I’m doing okay. It’s not perfect and I will always strive to do better. But if I take a step back, and look at the big picture, we’re doing okay.

Maybe what I can do is sit down with the kids and discuss ideas for new traditions that they might enjoy, even if they’re modified versions of old ones. It’s tough starting over and there are the obvious challenges but sometimes we forget about the less obvious ones until they knock on our front door.

I hope you all have a safe holiday. Please stay home. If you must go somewhere, please wear a mask and social distance. I know it sucks but it’s the only way to keep everyone safe. Merry Christmas and my best to you and yours.

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