A Merry Little Christmas Alone
The holiday season is very difficult for estranged parents and grandparents. If your family has long standing traditions and you’re blocked from executing and sharing these traditions, it can be a double whammy.
What to do? First, I suggest taking the focus off your kids and grandkids. It’s so easy to fall down the torturous hole of victimhood, wishing things were different from what they are. We torment ourselves by not accepting reality, which in this case, is the fact that our kids are celebrating the holidays the way they choose to. Unfortunately, this excludes us parents and grandparents.
Redirect your focus away from your kids to something else. Understand and accept that things are the way they are, not the way we’d like them to be. By constantly wishing and hoping things could be the way we want them to be, or the way we think they should be, we enslave ourselves.
Take a mental break from your obsessive reflections about the holidays and deliberately switch to a different mind set. For example, you’re not spending Christmas with your family…so what? Maybe next year will be better. But for now, shrug it off. If your holidays must be spent without your child, say, oh well, this is the reality for now. It will change.
Ask yourself what you can learn by spending Christmas alone. Maybe you’ve never spent it by yourself before, so you can experience what it’s like to do so. Treat yourself well. Cook a favorite meal, make cookies, take a nap under a cozy blanket, stay in your pajamas all day, reach out to friends across the miles. Search for ways to get stronger, more accepting of the way things go in life. Find serenity by surrendering to the day as it is. Have fun with your pet(s) if you have any. If you have a spouse or partner, be grateful. Above all, enjoy your own company.
I understand that holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were created for families. But what is family? A good family is loving, supportive, kind, enthusiastic about your presence. Clearly, our estranged family is not loving, supportive or excited to see us. Find people who fit this definition of family – friends and other relatives – and make plans with them for either the actual holiday or for some other time.
Be happy with YOU. You’ve done everything within your power to mend the estrangement, but nothing has helped – yet. Everything changes, and this, too will change.
So, for now, be good to yourself. Say Merry Christmas to that little child within you who’s excited it’s Christmas. Comfort that little child, and be playful. Who says you can’t have a Merry Christmas anyway.