Being a family

I have seen so many posts this Christmas where families are at odds over children and Christmas visits. Mothers and fathers spending Christmas alone because it wasn’t ‘their year’.

Ex -husbands and ex- wives being ugly and selfish, for whatever reason. No one is to blame and everyone is to blame, depending on what side you’re on. Parents talking about the other parent in horrible, inflammatory ways in front of the children. Saying things your kids will never forget you said.

Children in the middle. Missing the absent parent, kids torn when they see their parent upset because they are left behind on what’s supposed to be a holiday centered around peace and love.

I know that there are situations that things like this can’t be helped. I also know people are small. I’ve seen it so much this Christmas. Post after post about it.

I’ve been divorced since 2009. I was married 25 years and share five generous, loving children with this man. I loved him a long time. I loved him when we divorced. I’ve been hurt, mad, sad, fed up, ticked off and so aggravated I could smack my head into the wall over this man. And that was AFTER the divorce.

And I happen to know he has felt the same way about me.

We have continued to have our quarrels. We have said dreadful things to each other out of anger. And on my part, I’ve regretted every single one.

In all those years, all those holidays, graduations, the birth of our grandchildren, we have held it together for our children. I’ve sat at birthday parties struggling to hold back tears because of a friction between us and no one ever knew anything was wrong.

There have been times in our divorce-relationship that I have been incredibly hurt by something and still demanded my children respect their father. And I happen to know he has done the same.

We aren’t perfect, not anywhere near. Our marriage and divorce were full of hurt and chaos for us and our children. But we managed to be good to each other when the times called for it.

There hasn’t been a time where either of us have excluded one another from any significant, or insignificant, occasion in our children’s lives. We’ve sat together at ballgames, taken pictures together at graduations and cried and hugged when our grandkids were born.

Because the truth is, we have to do this together for them. They didn’t make the decision to break up our family, we did. So we have to stand by each other in the hard times and the easy times. For them.

I thank God all the time for being able to handle this. I thank God Bill can handle this. And I thank God that I have a husband who embraces my open heart towards someone who will always be a part of my life.

It’s not easy. That doesn’t matter. What matters is, at Karter’s birthday party in February, Bill and I will be there together. We will laugh about the ornery kid Kyler was and how Karter is so much like him. We can tell stories about the kids and reminisce and be thankful for the family we have together.

Be bigger than you have to be. Be forgiving, even if your situation is horrible. Being angry only hurts you and your children. And if you’re one of the unlucky ones who tries all the time and gets knocked down every time, God’s grace is sufficient. God is also a just God. So if He’s allowing it, He will bring good from it.

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