Predict, Prepare, Plan

Let me share with you what Christmas looks like for me. Since I was little, my family has always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve night. We have a wonderful dinner and open presents. It’s amazing family time. When I was little, on Christmas Day, we spent the day in our jammies, playing with our toys. We had leftovers for dinner and it was a day for relaxation. When I started dating my ex (I was still in high school), Chrismas Day was spent with his family. When I got separated, the division of Christmas was a no-brainer. The kids spent Christmas Eve with me and my family and they went to their dad’s on Christmas Day. But I had never been alone on Christmas Day.

July 4th is my son’s birthday. It used to be a huge celebration. When I was married, we had a huge party with the family and all our friends. In the evening we always had the big fireworks. It was a big family day for us. This has become a tough day for me. The kids come to my house in the morning and I make homemade chicken and waffles (my son’s favorite meal). Usually they bring a couple friends over also, and we do presents. But, for fireworks, the kids usually head to their dad’s for his birthday dinner. I have an amazing view of the fireworks from my house and I watch them with my neighbors. But I don’t have my kids with me to watch the show. It’s not just the divorce, but a part of kids growing up that creates this time, but it still happens.

I can remember how tough those first nights home alone were, when I first got separated. I hated not having the kids home with me. But, when I found out my kids had been staying with their dad, at his girlfriend’s house, for months, without tell me, well, that made me being alone in my house even tougher. This was more unbearable than Christmas and July 4th.

I think now is as good a time as any to talk about a strategy for defeating those moments that can bring you down. It may be a weekend alone, or going to event and knowing you have to see your ex, or, it may be the ex’s year for Christmas. These moments happen all the time. Some of them just smack us in the face, but there are some for which we can emotionally prepare. Why let the predictable moments smack us in the face when we can be ready for them and kick those moments in the ass. My counselor gave me great advice on handling these moments. So I would love to pass this advice along to you.

There are moments we dread. We just know they are going to stop us in our tracks. This is where the Predict comes in. Do inventory. Check your calendar. What difficult times are coming up? Make a list of those times.

Now that you’ve predicted those moments, it’s time to Prepare. How are you going to feel? What is going to make you feel better? Will being with friends help? Or how about a bubble bath or reading a book? Maybe an entire weekend away will help. Prepare yourself for how you will feel and what you will need in your life to get you through.

Make a Plan. Try to make them as early as possible. Call a friend and plan a night (or a weekend) out. Have something set up to do at home (maybe cook a gourmet meal, with dessert, and hit up Red Box and watch a good movie). Whatever the plan, make it as early as possible. Once you have a plan, you will look forward to the moment and kick that feeling of dread right in the ass. See, you’re Wonder Woman. You did it!!!

So, with the holidays coming up, some of us may be in the need to predict, prepare and plan. It’s a tough alone holiday. Stores are closed, restaurants are closed. But guess what, the movie theaters are open. There are some great movies coming out…Mary Poppins, Rocket Man… Whatever you plan, be excited about it!

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