‘Tis the season to be jolly….fa la la la la la la la…bah humbug.
Sharing custody sucks.
There. I said it. I know it might sound harsh, but it’s true! And you know what makes it suck a little more? The holidays! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas! It is my absolute, very favorite. I love the lights, the holiday cheer, the sales at the mall, the never-ending food and parties. But most of all I love Christmas because of my family. Every year, for as long as I can remember, we have celebrated the whole week of Christmas with different sides of the family.
My daughter’s father and I traveled to Paris on Christmas Day when I was six months pregnant. I bought her a gorgeous, silver Eiffel Tower snow globe. I remember the feeling of excitement like it was yesterday. The anticipation of our future Christmas celebrations together. I imagined the three of us opening presents in front of the fire every Christmas after that. I wanted to give her everything I didn’t have and everything I had dreamed of . . . wonderful moments of holidays spent with an intact family.
We never made it to our first Christmas as a family of three. Now our Christmases are dictated by a court mandated schedule. Christmas has become even more precious to me because I don’t get to spend every one with my child. If you thought I was a Christmas nut before, you should see me now! I love seeing the magic through my little one’s eyes.
December is filled with invitations, events, and gatherings of family and friends. As a single mom with joint custody, this is a nightmare! While half the time, I am happily caroling along and soaking in every holiday themed moment I can, the other half of the time I am alone. The pressure to do all things holiday in fifty percent of time is enough to bring anyone to the verge of insanity. My every other weekend is jam packed with visiting family, taking pictures with Santa, attending tree lighting ceremonies, baking cookies, ice skating at Campus Martius, and decorating our house. By the time our fun filled weekends are over, we are both exhausted from all of the chaos that is Christmas. Holiday hangovers at the very finest.
The next weekend rolls around and it is time to drop my sweet baby girl off with her dad. The heartache ensues greater . . . ”it’s the most horrible time of the year!” Well-intentioned friends say things like “Oh, but you can shop without her in tow!” and “I would kill to have a weekend to myself.” I want to scream! It’s not their fault; they just don’t understand! I can tell you, every other weekend with my child is bad enough January through November! I am missing half of my darling girl’s life; half the milestones, half the moments, half the memories. The highs and lows that accompany joint custody are heightened during the holidays. I drop my baby off and then what?
My friends are with their children and their unbroken families celebrating the season. That’s what Christmas is for, right? Family, loved ones, cheer! I want MY family! Instead of waking up, making breakfast, opening presents, and snuggling together in our pajamas to watch Christmas movies all day and play with her toys, we will have to set an alarm for wake up time. No sleeping in and cuddling. No time to make breakfast together. Just scarf it down and hurriedly open presents. Because she will have to rush off to her dad’s before I know it.
I know she will be creating memories with her dad. I hope that she has a wonderful time celebrating. I know that this might sound selfish of me, but I get back to our house . . . wrapping paper littering the floor, cookie crumbs on the table that she just sat at excitedly pointing out that Santa ate the cookies we baked, her toys are piled up . . . and I am alone.
So excuse me while I pour myself a giant glass of red and plow through a enormous box of Godiva truffles while I sit and wait for the next forty-eight hours to pass. Because all I want for Christmas . . . is my daughter.