It was the day after Thanksgiving in the first year after my ex-husband moved out that the kids and I re-discovered our tree was safely tucked up in the rafters of our attic. (Yes, we have a fake one and we’re proud of it.) With a full-grown-man in the house, that had been a preferable location but with a mom afraid of heights and kids as helpers … not so much. The reality of the situation dawned on us and as we circled up below the opening of the attic entrance to discuss the situation, my brave, oldest daughter volunteered to be the one to climb the ladder and survey it further. As she climbed, I described the box she was after and that there should be a light in there but she’d have to pull the string that dangled. She pulled the string and the light was dead, but she could see the box, so she started tugging and managed to drag it to the edge where she could slip it down to me. It was all going swimmingly until the box was half-way down to me and there was no going back – my middle child stepped in to see if he could assist at the very moment the bottom of the box burst open and heavy Christmas tree parts started raining down on his head! He stumbled back a little dazed and confused, but we knew he was fine after he shook his head a little and a broad smile ran across his face; we all started hysterically laughing with relief and amusement. One of the many new adventures we face as a single-parent family.
Not all of our adventures end with a smile or a laugh, but either way, we learn and we grow together. In the picture below, you’ll see our beloved tree with a missing row of lights – possibly due to “the crash” but we love it all the same for the memories it holds.
One of the most advisable tips I received after I found myself parenting alone was to make sure that traditions are kept. Even if you don’t feel like it, your kids will remember it and it gives them security when their world seems to be crashing around them. Keep the ones that are important – not the ones that will make you go insane (only you know which ones those are) and then be open to starting new traditions. (Although, that tree is never going back up in the attic for a reenactment. 🙂 ) Every divorce/separation story is different, but the healing process is similar and this is a good step in the right direction.
And remember, we weren’t created to do life alone. None of this is easy because solo-parenting was not part of God’s perfect plan for the family unit. Jesus was born into a two-parent household (albeit a “blended” family!); a good portion of the Christmas story is about the Angel speaking to Joseph and Mary (separately) about their role as parents and them accepting that responsibility (individually) and then bringing them together as a complete family unit. Unfortunately, that’s not the norm in our times for many families and that just stinks, so be sure to find a strong community that will help you through this season. If you don’t have one, you’re welcome here at Westbrook. We have a fantastic group of women who are in, or have been in, a season of solo-parenting – you are welcome to join us!
May you have a blessed Christmas season and may your home be full of Christs’ JOY – no matter how many adult-size stockings are hung by the fire! 🙂