Newly separated or divorced? Already anticipating the holiday blues? There are no easy answers, but I may have a few suggestions heading into the season, even if your familial landscape (and marital status) is undergoing a difficult time of change.
Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey
Just remember – Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey on your table or the one you’ve been fighting with in court! Marital discord, separation, and divorce bring out the worst in all of us – yes, women, too. So try to remember that when you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, whether you’re diving into a plateful of white meat with cranberry sauce, or a bowl of homemade soup.
Do remember what you have to be grateful for. And, in every life – there’s plenty.
- If you have kids – the holidays are about them. Whatever the age, make your day about closeness – food, talk, games, a football tossed around the building hallway, or out in the backyard that needs raking. Ask about school, their dreams, what they’d like to read next. Whatever is age appropriate – and will make them feel like the center of your heart. Because, after all, don’t they need that right now more than anything?
- What else to be grateful for? Your health, your friends, your family. And it isn’t about quantity. It’s about quality.
- Want more? How about this wonderful resource of women just like you and nothing like you – but all of us anxious to engage in conversation, to listen, to lend our experience, to extend a hand and get to know you.
- Do you have a job? In this economy, that’s worth a big thank you.
- Is your ex paying support on time, and doing his best to co-parent according to schedule? Another thank you is due. It isn’t always the case.
- What about a hot pair of shoes? No? Shame! I’ve got plenty of suggestions on that score, and you just may need them in December. (We’ll talk…)
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and so on
Whatever you celebrate, remember that giving can be the greatest “getting” that there is. Isn’t that what this time of year is about? Wouldn’t it feel incredible to get outside your own head for a bit? And do some good for someone else?
- Can you close your eyes and recall the feeling when you gave of yourself without expecting anything in return? To a child, to a friend, to a stranger? That’s pretty sweet stuff in my book. Somewhere in your area, a shelter needs canned goods, toys, gift-wrap, a volunteer. You.
- Sharing the holidays with your ex for the very first time? A split in days, a need to shuffle the “traditional” schedule?
- I’ve been there. Half of Christmas spent at the airport, or holding the holiday dinner for hours, waiting. It’s hard. And for some of us it stays hard. But when there are children involved, it isn’t about us. It is about them.
- Do right by your kids, and that means no nasty words about the ex in front of them, and as much cooperation as you can muster. If you need to rant, cry, scream and curse – put it on paper, put it in a blog, scream it out in the shower, or call a friend and vent. But not to your kids. Never to your kids.
- Bake. Wrap. Walk. Brush the dog. Rescue a dog. Make a snowman. Light a candle for someone you love, and miss. Light a candle for you – the person you are becoming. New. Different. Lighter. Because it will happen – not without a bumpy road for some of us – but your best gift at holiday time is you.
So celebrate your courage, your integrity, and the dreams you will be able to nurture. And if you need us – we’ll be here for you.
Santa’s wish list
One last thing, everyone needs a holiday wish list. And don’t be shy! Want a hunka-hunka-beefcake hottie? Well write it down! Want a house full of teens and their friends? (Yes, that’s on my list; call me crazy…) Write it down! When you articulate what you want, it’s easier to imagine it and achieve it. And, you’re never too old to need, to want, or to dream.
My wish list? Yes, it does include that house full of my teens (and my son home from college). It also comes complete with sexy DVDs, hot leopard trimmed stiletto booties, and a great big bear of a loving guy. Whether you’re ready for sex, for love, or both wrapped up in the same package – make a list!
And don’t forget Oreos for Santa, oatmeal for the reindeer, chocolate coins (for the woman in all of us), and your best face – and foot – forward. You never know what you may find stuffed in your stocking come holiday time!