December 24, 2018

Things you might do at Christmas as a single parent

Restless night because I’m used to night-waking a million times – cuddles, nightmares, sickness, just because…

Checking the list over and over again because you can’t just “pop out” to grab something if you’ve forgotten it. You learn how to improvise and rely on yourself.
Waking at 7, because that’s your body’s normal alarm clock – remembering you can sleep in. Try to sleep in. Toss and turn in bed, counting down how many potential hours more you could be sleeping in if only you could fall back asleep.
Waking up to check the list again instead. Grabbing coffee.
Walking to Christmas Eve, morning yoga with a friend – an accountability buddy. If I hadn’t made a commitment TO someone else (someone other than myself) I would have cycled through the first few items on this list instead.
Be as present as possible during gentle flow yoga – trying to be, well, gentle and kind to myself during this changing season of life. The changes in dynamic, tradition, joy, holidays, and grief all wrapped into one.
Take time walking home. There’s no need to rush. Pondering how the holidays were so filled with rush and expectations in a way I never realized until I didn’t have to do things anymore. Wondering if people LIKE doing those things or feel obligated to doing those things – or both. Getting curious about my own feelings surrounding this Season and becoming more intentional about the traditions and harried days leading up to the “momentous” occasion – which now more closely resembles “any other day”.
Try to keep the magic and joy of Christmas alive enough to lean in and allow the warmth to walk with me – even if it feels kind of like a shadow walk – walking with, but not really connected – the shadow disappears and reappears depending on the light and obstacles obstructing the light’s view of my body.
Home to a, now, well stocked fridge full of possibilities. Foods. Some old favorites. Some new, “just to tries”.
Run a few errands to finish up my holiday hustle. And, let’s be honest, to keep busy.
“Get time” to do things like put the 6 baskets of laundry away, vacuum under the throw rug, put fresh linens on my bed and fluff my pillows. Things I would never have dreamed about in Christmas’s past.
Now I get to decide my schedule.
It comes with both lightness and heaviness. Lightness to be Lifted from expectations, heaviness because with it comes a veil of grief. Grief that I won’t be able to give the non-present gifts that were wished for this year – the ones on their Christmas list since this transition to single-parenting began.
Try to find gratitude in the change and light in the grief.
Allow myself the grace to feel all that’s wrapped up inside me this year. The Simultaneous contradiction of feelings. Tied together with a big holiday bow.
Knowing full well that this emptiness will soon be replaced by overflowingness – there is no in between – no middle ground right now. I’m either fully on 200% or off 100% which is probably the most difficult transition of all. 1:3 ratios can be intense. Particularly through seasons of transition and change – for children and grown ups – but particularly for grown ups catching children’s big feelings during transition and change.
Take a bath because, well, time. And self care. And busying myself so the house doesn’t feel quite as empty, even with loved ones nearby.
Remind myself of the abundance of love. Mature love grows and grows. It does not cease. It only expands. Even through the hurt, pain, frustration, and grief – mature love endures. It continues on even when you can no longer walk together. The sobering reality of no longer living a fantasy – knowing the love I have is bigger than I am. I miss what might have, should have, could have been…. and the nucleus of what once was “ours” and has now become “his” and “hers”. The fantasy I had wished and hoped for fades, as I peer through frosted window panes and remind myself of the reality of what is ….
Blanket myself a little more cozily in the warmth and abundance of love. The kind of love I have always tried and intended to send out, but never gave myself. Turning inward this time of year to hug myself a little more closely, treat myself a little more kindly, and offer myself the compassion and grace I have offered many others in Christmas’ past.
These are the thoughts and things I now have time for. This is my present. But also my gift if I can let go and embrace all that it is.
There is magic in the season.
Magic inside you.
Magic inside me.
May your magic reveal itself to you, even in shifting, changing, seasons of life.
May your magic nuzzle you close, even if it just walks beside you for awhile.
May you remember you are whole. You are worthy. And you are loved. Infinitely. Just for being you. Right here. Right now.
Sending extra warmth and solidarity to all of you who could use some extra love this Season.
In love ? and kindness,

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