True story: as I waited with my grandson to visit with the mall Santa this weekend, I overheard a devastating comment. The lovely woman two ahead of us in line asked her beautifully dressed son what he was going to tell Santa he wanted for Christmas. The little boy—who I imagine was about seven or eight years old—replied very matter-of-factly, “For you and daddy to stop fighting”. Yes, that is all that he wanted for Christmas; not a Thomas the Train set, not Legos, not dinosaurs; just for peace in his home. This poor woman froze and those around her that heard the child’s reply must have felt what I did: enormously sad, very uncomfortable, and perhaps fearful that the child was going to expose the family dynamic to Santa.
I began to wonder: how many other children wish for the same ‘gift’ this holiday season? Whether you are in a contentious marriage, contemplating divorce but want to give your children a final Christmas with their other parent, spending your first holiday as a single person or your fifteenth, this holiday season is about miracles and hope.
Is this too much to ask: can you give your children the ‘miracle’ of a peaceful holiday season with your ex and the ‘hope’ that there will be no outbursts of discomfort for them? While you cannot determine all of the communication, you can accept responsibility for your end of it. You can keep in the very front of your mind the determination that you will do everything possible to make this the most harmonious and child-focused holiday they’ve ever experienced. They deserve that; they are children.
This holiday season what I wish for you is the knowledge that you can’t control everything: not your ex’s poor behavior, not his/her choices, not his/her mouth, not his/her demands. What you can control is your ability to respond with the grace you want your children to emulate.
Miracles do come true and I wish you and your children a peaceful and joyous holiday season full of hope in the new year.