“My ex-husband showed up on Christmas morning” and other thoughts to ponder after the holiday

9 Jan

This is the most drama-free holiday season we’ve had in the last five years and for that I am truly grateful.   But, we did have a couple of “blended family protocol” areas that came up this year. 

The first was the issue of Christmas cards.  This year’s Christmas picture was a formal one that I had taken of my children (two from my first marriage and one with DH) and it felt sort of weird sending it out, with my stepdaughters’ names on the card, yet them being absent from the picture.  I asked DH a million questions:  Is it okay if I put the girls’ names on the card?  Should I take their names off because they aren’t in the picture?  Did I totally screw up by not forcing the family photo issue?  In typical DH fashion, he said, “Don’t worry so much.  Just send them out!”  So I did.  It was still a bit frustrating because I’ve tried for a few years to round everyone up for a formal family photo.  The timing just hasn’t been right for my stepdaughters (my children, on the other hand, will dive in front of a camera).  So, for DH’s friends and relatives, and maybe to ease my guilty conscience, I also included a Santa picture that had all of the girls (2 his, 1 mine, 1 ours) but is missing my 15-year old son.   It just seemed like the right thing to do. 

My ex showed up unannounced on Christmas morning with doughnuts

The next interesting event was my ex-husband’s surprise visit on Christmas morning.  He showed up all smiles at 8:30 AM saying, “Merry Christmas!  I brought doughnuts!”  I was instantly annoyed because I felt like he was intruding on our family and probably because I hadn’t finished my first cup of coffee yet.  Of course we invited him in, but I gave DH a look that said, “What the heck???”  Then DH nodded his head toward the kids giving my ex his gift and acting like it was perfectly normal for their dad to waltz in on Christmas morning unannounced.  They weren’t over-the-top enthusiastic, it was just, you know, normal.  That’s when I realized what a good job the three of us have done in carving out a working relationship that puts the kids at ease.  Five years of blood, sweat and tears finally paid off. I have to give DH most of the credit though for leading the way since in the beginning my ex and I were like oil and water (or maybe more like gunpowder and fire).  He was calm while my ex and I were still trying to figure out our post-divorce relationship and kept reminding us to keep the kids first and foremost and not our own egos and agendas.  I am a lucky girl to have such a great anchor.

Did you have any blended/stepfamily triumphs or disasters this holiday? Do you share the holiday with your ex or have separate celebrations?

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