When the holidays kinda suck…

Surfers waiting

When you are going through hard stuff, the holidays can seriously blow donkey balls.  You might have your kids for just part of the day or, even if you have them for the whole day, you might find yourself thinking, “How the hell did this become my life?”  Even if ending your marriage was a really good decision, it still turns your world upside down and it forces you to change your holidays in ways that maybe you didn’t want.

I remember the first year that I didn’t have my kids for Christmas morning.  I didn’t sleep much Christmas Eve night, I tossed and turned and basically felt really, really sad.  So I got up at like 5am, gave up on sleeping and I put on my warmest clothes.  I drove out to the beach.  There’s a place near me called Surfer’s Point and it is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  I decided that if I was going to be unhappy, at least I would be unhappy in a really beautiful place so that I could try to be grateful for where I live, even if I couldn’t think of anything else to be grateful for on that shitty morning.

I was surprised to find that there were a ton of people there.  What you might not know about surfing is that the waves are often good early in the morning, and also, that surfers are crazy.  Even if they have to be at there Grandma’s four hours away at noon, they just might make the time to get up at 5 am and catch a few waves first.  They are like drug addicts.  So I wasn’t alone. In fact, people were laughing and sharing donuts and coffee and talking about the wave they caught or the wave that sent them down pounding sand with their face.  Really, I couldn’t have picked a better place to distract myself from my unhappiness.

But I had to go home eventually because my mom was coming over to help me make a Christmas meal for my kids, our custodial exchange time for Christmas is Noon.  That’s when I went right back into the misery.  I love my mom, but being just the two of us, cooking and decorating was seriously depressing.  I distinctly remember looking at the clock and thinking “Shit, it’s too early to start drinking.”  So, that tells you how awesome that Christmas morning was for me.

What I knew then, and can promise you wholeheartedly now, is that it gets better.  And that may sound like an empty promise but just this week I heard from a former client that found the love of his life after divorce.  He sends me the most beautiful photos from his new home, and after years of trying so hard to make marriage work with someone that he wasn’t well-matched with, he is finally living the life of his dreams with his beloved by his side.  I also heard from a woman I represented quite a while ago who had a serious douche canoe of a husband, but she managed to raise two incredible, handsome and thriving boys despite having to co-parent with a jerk.  She used to call me in tears before sending them to their dad’s, asking if she really HAD to send them and I would reassure her that they had to know what their dad was really like or else they would imagine him much better than he is.  And she did and they are all doing great now.

This year, the holidays might suck.  They might even suck massive, hairy donkey balls.  But it won’t always be like this.  If you do the work to learn why you married a turd in the first place, you won’t make that mistake again and you will find deep, lasting love.  If you allow your kids to learn for themselves who their parents really are and if you learn to hold your boundaries in love and integrity, they will grow up to know how to tell when someone isn’t being who they say they are.  You WILL have warm, loving holidays again.

You are not alone in this journey.  If you are hurting and could use a pep talk, I hope you will let us know in the comments or on my Facebook Page, so we can support you.  If you have been through the hard stuff and can help give someone else a message of hope, please share in the comments below or on my Facebook Page.  And if you know someone having a rough holiday, please call them and let them know you love them.  In the words of Ram Dass, “We are all just walking each other home.”

Please share your thoughts.