Tonight was family dinner night. My ex-husband comes over for dinner every week. Why? Because it’s the only connection my daughter has with him. So I continue to…facilitate it. Next weekend is Christmas and technically it’s my ex’s weekend. His turn for the kids. But we have always ignored this and been flexible about each family’s traditions on special occasions. My daughter hasn’t spent the weekend with him in more than 18 months, but my son does.
Christmas Eve is the big celebratory evening in my family. It is THE night. Christmas Day is the day in his family, as per Australian custom. My ex chose to push the issue that Christmas Eve is technically HIS night to have the kids, and try to convince my son to go to his house after dinner. Say, 7pm. And let him ‘get out of’ the boring stuff here.
Christmas Eve sux. No question. I am not looking forward to it. There is so much effing stupid stress going on that I have done what I do, and taken charge. More for me than anything else, but others will benefit too. But the point is, it is OUR FAMILY TRADITION.
To try and entice my son away from Christmas Eve is akin to me telling my son he can play Dota (his favourite computer game) all day long on Christmas day and he doesn’t have to go to my ex’s family celebration (he doesn’t want to go there either). My daughter is giving me hell, refusing to go to my ex’s family Christmas celebration. I am MAKING her go, because it’s the right thing to do. They are her family, much as she doesn’t like that idea, and she must go. I’d much rather both kids stayed with me for Christmas Day, but that’s wrong. They need to spend Christmas day with their extended family. Those people ARE my kids’ family. It’s the right thing to do.
Yet my ex does not respect my family tradition, and tries to get my son to leave my family celebration early, and bribe him with the promise of more fun at his (my ex’s) house with movies and gaming. Because it’s HIS weekend. Which apparently trumps Christmas somehow. To hell with the European tradition of celebrating with family on Christmas Eve. It’s not important to him, so it’s not important.
He, once again, has no respect for me. And puts his son in a horrible position.
But my son has been raised right and declined the offer. I’m sure the ante will be upped during the week, because somehow I sense that my ex has an axe to grind with me. But he won’t just tell me what’s up his butt, cos hey, where’s the fun in that? He’ll just keep on with the passive aggressive bullshit, putting my kids in the middle.
Why do I not just smack his ass down and give it to him with both barrels?
Because it will hurt my kids. This way my son has considered his options and chosen to do the proper thing. And I am proud of him.
And, big picture, if you ever wonder why I do things…it’s this:
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
Clever guy, Gandhi.
I wish to see more respect. I wish to see more kindness. I wish to see more forgiveness. I wish to see understanding. I wish to see loyalty. I wish to see less selfishness. I wish to see a parent respecting the other parent, but most importantly putting the child’s needs first.
This means that it seems like I lose each individual battle. But I believe I am winning the ‘war’. And if I’m not, at least I know I’m not an asshole, and I can sleep at night.
Gandhi rocks. Non-violent protest and control by submission is the very best thing strategy for world domination. Even if the world is our living room.
Well said Rick.
Good girl! You are doing the right thing, your kids will see that and respect you for it, and the ex will hear of it. maybe not today, but someday, he’ll hear about it. I’ve told my people hundreds of times, “when you stop expecting people to do the right thing, it stops hurting”. So seeing somebody “do the right thing” is always a heart warmer. Have a great Christmas!!