Home Alone (For The Holidays)
It’s been a little while since I last wrote. It’s certainly NOT because I don’t have anything to say. I suppose, I just wanted to wait until I had the right words to write again.
The holidays are a great reason to get some down time, relax a bit, and spend time with your family. But herein lies the problem for many of us.
There’s really nothing that will make you feel more alone or depressed, then when your kids leave you for the holidays. This year’s custody schedule is a little rough for me, so it makes this season extra difficult. I’m sure there’s a few of you in the same boat.
The Holiday Hand Off
It’s hard handing off your kid(s) to your ex for the holidays. That’s a no brainer. What hard for me is knowing that my ex and her family will be “complete” for the holidays, and I’ll be far from that.
It almost seems selfish to think this way, but I don’t think it’s unnatural to.
What I have to repeat in my head (and it’s easy because it’s the truth), is that this is a good thing for Kailyn. She gets to spend the holidays with her mom, half-brother & half-sister. Getting to spend time with them is an important part of her life. And a part I should nurture and promote.
But that doesn’t make it any easier.
This holiday season began with Kailyn flying “Unaccompanied Minor” to Illinois on Southwest for Thanksgiving. A lot of my friends have reached out with questions about how this works, so if you have some, please comment below. I’ll get back to you right away.
It’s an easy process and Kailyn’s been doing it for years so she’s a pro. I remember one time she got off the plane and asked for business cards. I asked her why? She said she was meeting so many people on the plane that she wanted to stay in touch with them. She’s definitely my daughter, isn’t she? So at least traveling for the holidays is easy for her.
That was thanksgiving. This Xmas, I get the “second shift”, so I won’t have her until the 27th. Spending Christmas Day without her will be sad, but I’ll be with family. She went to her mom’s last week and I don’t get her back till next week. Talk about a long stretch . . .
I think this is the most difficult part of the holidays. I wrote a blog titled “Alone In An Crowded Room” where I talked about how it’s entirely possible to be surrounded by people, and still fee utterly alone.
While I stand by that blog, I’ll tell you that being surrounded by people is exactly how I cope with the holidays when Kailyn’s not around.
I try and distract myself by surrounding myself with friends, family and work. I count down the days until I get “my turn”, and look forward till it’s my time for the holidays.
It’s my opinion that holidays are the part of divorce that’s the hardest. People are getting engaged, married, announcing new babies . . . And here I am, trying to put my life together. It’s hard to see so many people happy, when I wish I were that happy too.
I know it’s a shitty thing to write, let alone feel, but it’s the truth. I’m honestly and truly happy for everyone who’s had a great 2019 . . . Those who have new engagements, or marriages, and those who will be or have brought new kids into their families. I truly am. But sometimes it feels like a benchmark for THEIR happiness that I’ll never achieve.
I can’t be alone in feeling like this.
Seriously though . . . I’m really happy for my friends. I hope that the happiness they’re feeling, is a sustainable happiness. I hope to be there someday too. But sometimes it makes me feel like shit. And I feel even worse because I feel this way. Am I a horrible person?
I can’t help but feel that 2020 is going to be my year. Not only is it a cool sounding year, but I think I’m due. I don’t mind sharing it either. I hope 2020 is OUR YEAR. my fingers are crossed.
But if it’s not, that’ll be ok too. Then I’ll keep trucking on, and wait for my year.
Holiday Lessons Learned
Here’s a few things I’ve learned and remind myself and then I’ll close out this blog.
- No matter how this holiday feels for me, I’m going to make it the best holiday for Kailyn. She has no idea what’s going on in my head (and that’s a good thing). As dysfunctional as our family is right now, she’s going to have an awesome holiday because of ME.
- Friends matter during the holidays. Surrounding myself by friends during the holiday is a great coping mechanism and it’s why they’re there. They’re there to support me during times I need them . . . Even if they don’t know I need them. I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I have awesome friends. Not only that, but “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I need to be there for them too. I’m not sure who’s going through what I’m going through (or worse).
- Be Present. When remembering the above #3 lesson, I need to make sure that I’m also here for my friends (and you). Tis the season . . . and I know it’s a rough one for a lot of people.
- Family is always first. I happen to have an awesome family. One that supports me, and one that loves Kailyn. The holidays are a reason for us all to gather and I’m going to savor the time with them and with Kailyn.
- When Kailyn’s with her mom, I’ll patiently wait my turn. I’m the one who got us in this situation (well at least I’m 1/2 responsible), so I’ll wait my turn. I’ll use that time to plan an awesome holiday for Kailyn.
- Lastly, I’ll be counting my blessings. Despite the somber tone of this blog, I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas. I made it another year around the sun. Kailyn is healthy and happy and so are my family. I’m a lucky guy. I just need to remember this.
I’m A Lucky Guy
I feel like based on the general “bummer” tone of this blog, that I should write a paragraph reminding myself how lucky I am. I’ve got some awesome friends. I’ve got an awesome job. My family is so supportive and loving and Kailyn is the best. I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas season. And I’m cognizant of this, so I should “yell it from the treetops”, because I’m blessed.
If you’re down and out this holiday, my suggestion is try and remind yourself about how lucky you are. Write it down on paper. Something you can put into an organized list. And then read it over and over again till you realize that no matter how bummed you are . . . you’re blessed.
When I say, I know how many of you feel, it’s the truth. I know the 1000lb weight on your chest. But 1lb by 1lb it’ll get lighter till we’re all in a good place. For me, it all gets better when my Kailyn is home. But count the days UP till you get to your place . . . and in the meantime, just count the ways you’re blessed.
I say this ever blog, but I’m always around. So count me as friend #1 if you’re having trouble coming up with a list. I can be reached a ton of ways (listed at the bottom of this blog).
I hope you all have the happiest of holidays. My wish for all of you is that you get to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can. Each day is a blessing and I’m thankful to know so many of you.
If you’d like to connect with me or have a topic you’d like to hear about, shoot me a message or connect with me @KailynsDadBlog on Facebook or Instagram.
1 thought on “Home Alone (For The Holidays)”
Much love Ben! You are a great man. These words are so true.