Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Split Christmas

This morning, I received a direct request to post more and bring back the biting sarcasm. (Sorry Mom, but it is one of my strengths.)

December is always a weird month now. We have kids in our lives, which for me would mean ice skating, boutiques, festivals, plays, caroling, crafts, and a ton of other things I can think of where kids can prepare and experience Christmas. Either my parents did a great job of making the season special or those activities just very clearly stand out in my mind. I also had Christmas pageants and choir performances in school at the holidays, something my stepkids had never heard of before I asked years ago. But strangely enough, the custody schedule has only ever allowed us one weekend with the kids before Christmas Eve or Christmas, which switched off every year. It's never enough time to prepare for Christmas with them, let alone try to do Christmas-time activities. We usually somehow squeeze in a play about or somewhat related to Christmas. If we see them for Christmas Eve, then we are able to take them to the Christmas Eve service at church. If we don't, then they don't even get a church service about the holiday and its meaning.

They're off of school right now, and I would be taking them to shows, having them finish those crafts they started and never finished, teaching them to skateboard, or whatever else. Their dad, if he was home with them, would be taking them to parks with their bikes and other equipment. Usually, we take them up North for about 4-5 days to see my husband's large family for a portion of a week. But this year...

Their mom decided to schedule her first vacation week with the kids during the winter, ever. Meaning, my husband had to fight for one extra day this entire month to even have enough time to see his family at all. Her comment was, "I am not forbidding you from seeing your family..." knowing full well that her "vacation" request would cut out any possibility of 2 sets of 10 hour travel time. Because of her generous extra day, we're planning to drive at night and hope that our route doesn't get shut down due to night ice.We may not have time to go to snow, the only snow these kids have ever experienced, given the rushed schedule.  So, the kids get 2 weeks with their mom and stepdad doing nothing, just like the other 75% of the time, with one insane weekend of their big family up North, and an insulting amount of Christmastime with their dad overall for the month of December.

I'm reminded of how sad this is. My husband said it is most of all sad for the kids. I don't know why I feel like they deserve more and should have the opportunity to do more enriching things. Shouldn't I just plain not care, given how much they care about me? I've done all these awesome things with them before, and its not like its had an impact. So I should just want them to sit there and do nothing at their house. It was technically their choice, despite how much we offer them. Saves me money, anyways.

Then I'm reminded that the court had the biggest influence on this. Some people believe that the parent with the most money gets the kids. This is simply not the case, as anyone familiar with a divorce-with-kids situation knows. In our case, it's not a money issue but more of what can be offered. The court chose the parent that would do the least for the children's upbringing. I remembered he tried to express all of the things we do for the kids, what we bring into their lives, at least one time when preparing for court. The lawyer cut most of it out. It has no worth.

Or, this is what I have to figure, that is. My logic is constantly trying to get a grasp on how if he has done nothing wrong, does not abuse them, hurt them or upset them, but simply fathers in an exceptional way, does everything he can to teach them about life and themselves, tries his hardest to see them- then there must be something to courts having a mother-bias or any of the other theories you can come up with about what's going on with the system.

It's Christmastime...and none of this makes sense. A great father not being able to see his kids doesn't make sense to me. A mother trying to deny her children their wonderful father and his family due to her own bitterness and desire to win and control- when does it end, if not at Christmas? If the state and courts and psychologists are aware of the impact and difference in the lives of children who have both a mother and father, even if separated, then how do these decisions even come about? He lives miles from them and wants to see them more, but is denied for absolutely no reason.

I've maybe never been more aware of the evil of people than this Christmas. This is usually when I am pushing myself to have faith in others and remember what joy we can bring each other. I saw a single mom and her girl buy a Christmas tree at Target last weekend. They shoved the little, somewhat sad tree into their little compact car. They weren't talking, but simply smiling. They both got in the car, and I could see them directly from my car. They were just happy to have bought a tree together, to take it home, no matter how small it is or how silly it is that they had to shove it in that tiny car. Any teenager would have mocked it, that's for sure.

Directly after that, a lady came out of the Target Garden Center shouting across the parking lot, "These trees are sh*t. They're horrible. They're the worst trees I've ever seen."

After I bought what I needed and came out, another family was buying a tree. Again, all smiles. One boy was talking endlessly about all the things he wanted to do and the decorations and lights and this and that.... Simply happy to have a tree, again. That it is simply Christmastime, again.

One person sees something ugly and unfit, another sees something that will make everything right and better again.  Where is the middle, the happy medium, the actually mediated solution seeking the best for all? Will it always remain dichotomous, as long as people are just people and can't look to a bigger meaning?

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