Thursday, November 26, 2009

Divorced During the Holidays

At first I was afraid I was petrified
Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinkin’ how you did me wrong
And I grew strong and I learned how to get along…

Okay. This basically sucks at the beginning. You haven’t figured out what to do when the holidays are not as before. Generally speaking, we don’t like change and this is a whopping one.
You have the kids, you don’t have the kids, you have the kids but not the ex who you miss, you have the kids but not your ex-sister-in-law who you loved like a sister. The list goes on and on. You cook but now there’s no one to appreciate it. He cooked and now the food is like a Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving, no offense intended for those who love said meal.
What to do?

Do what you do to de-stress. Run, yogacize, read a trashy novel, do crossword puzzles, listen to music (the up kind).

Create new rituals. Go out instead of cooking. Cook instead of going to the in-laws (now ex of course). Go away instead of staying home. Stay home instead of going away. You get the idea.

Look good. No look great! It helps.

Accept the new. Just try. There’s no turning back now. It is what it is. The papers are signed, the moves have taken place. This is your life. Make it a great one.

Remember why you made the choices you made. You decided to do it this way for good reasons. What were those reasons? OR, stuck with a change you didn’t want? Embrace it. It was probably meant to be anyway, wasn’t it?

And you can always try Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Communicating with your Kid: Car Talk with Peter Pan

On my way to the office the other morning, the SUV beside me at the light caught my eye. They were probably dropping a kid at school and on the video screen was a Disney-like movie. I had to wonder, why do you need a movie during what is likely a short hop?

I don’t want to sound like one of those it wasn’t like this when we were kids and we survived emails, but seriously. Given how difficult it is to talk to kids of all ages, taking every opportunity to do so seems like a good idea to me. I don’t mean to sound smarmy and holier than thou. Perhaps these kind parents were starting out on a three hour ride with their four year old, but even so. When my kid was four and autovideo was not ubiquitous, we enjoyed that time for talking, observing, words games and the like.

One of the things I know I’ll miss when my now-teenager starts driving himself, is that captive time in the car. Although I don’t always have his undivided attention, I often have enough of it to allow for discussion of everything from girls to politics, an angry diatribe about teachers, a peek into the intrigues of his peers and loads of anecdotes about life in his world I’d never otherwise hear. Sometimes we talk about the music he’s listening to in the car. And, I’m not gonna lie, we entertain one another with stories about the people in the next car and those we pass on the street. It’s kind of like Mad Libs without the paper.

It really irks my son when he’s in the car with me and I’m on the phone. See, I think he likes that time as well, receiving my relatively undivided attention. Relatively. I do have to drive after all. Or watch him drive.

So I think this time is really useful. It may not be “quality time” in the typical sense, but it’s one-on-one time and it's good to grab every opportunity. After all, it’s not like Peter Pan; they do grow up, and fast.