It’s Thanksgiving Eve and per usual, Alexa is at gymnastics practice. Unfortunately, I won’t get to see her for Thanksgiving as she is with her dad this year. We share custody and the major holidays are divided up so that she’s with me on even years for some and odd years for others.
In a nutshell, it SUCKS…BIG TIME!!!
We’ve been doing this for 8 years now so it’s nothing new but it’s still the worst. It was especially hard when she was younger because she’s a mama’s girl and when you’re not allowed to spend Thanksgiving with your mom and all your cousins, it’s no fun.
To put things in context, she has cousins on my side of the family. In particular, she has her two girl cousins that she’s very close to and then there are my cousins’ kids who we see during the holidays and of course, it’s more fun to have other kids to hang out with. She’s the only kid of her generation on her dad’s side of the family so she’s always by herself. Plus, we have certain traditions that we have with my family that she hates missing out on. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have sticky rice stuffing that she LOVES and when she’s not with me, she has to hold out until she comes back to my house for leftovers. She was just complaining to me the other day that she didn’t want to go with her dad for Thanksgiving dinner because the food is not as good. I agree, but it is what it is and she just has to deal with it.
What is the point of this post? The point is that parents who are in the same household with their children are so lucky. Yes, I understand that you need a break at times and mine are built-in but sometimes I don’t think people realize how fortunate they are not to have to “share” their children. First of all, mine is a competitive gymnast so she’s either at school or at the gym most days as it is. We take advantage of every opportunity to spend time together but we literally only have one day a week during the weekday that she doesn’t have practice which is the day we go to her doctor, orthodontist, or chiropractor appointments and then Sunday, which she is only with me half the time. Time is going to be even tighter as she gets older and wants to hang out with her friends.
Every year when the holiday season rolls around, there’s an empty sadness that I can’t really express and only someone in my exact shoes can fully understand. As soon as I dropped her off at gym practice Monday night (the last night I saw her this week) and I walked in the house, that feeling hit me again. Trust me, I have plenty to do to keep me busy but I do wish she was with me. I hate decorating for Christmas without her because it’s just more fun with her. I mentioned about going Black Friday shopping this year since she’s old enough to really enjoy it now, but she’s with her dad…sigh. I will see her earlier than normal this year because my niece’s birthday party is on Saturday and she’ll be attending so yay for these interruptions, otherwise it would have been 9 days before I got to see her again.
I am very grateful for technology so that we are connected throughout the day. I am grateful for a strong relationship with her and that she wants to spend time with her mother. I am grateful for the quality time we do spend together because even though parents may be under the same roof with your children, they may not appreciate it as much because there’s a tendency to take things for granted. They’re always there. I’m not saying that that is the case for everyone, but I am saying I’m particularly cognizant of how little time I have with her and really try to embrace our time together to the fullest. I have less than 5 years before she’s off to college so it’s up to me to make the most of every day until then.
During this Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to take a moment to really reflect on how lucky you are to have your children with you however much you do. I know there are parents who have young children who live in another state (I can’t imagine) or live further away so it’s not feasible to see them regularly. Just know that your role as a parent to young children is short lived and so precious. 18 years passes so quickly. I can’t believe how quickly 13 years has passed when I all I wanted her to do in the first year was grow…and grow she did.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!