Pressing my face into a tear soaked pillow I cried out in pain. I curled into the fetal position and wondered what I would do without my children surrounding me on the holidays. They were scheduled to be with their dad, leaving me all alone. I’d never felt so alone in all of my life as that first year after the divorce. At the time, my now husband, was struggling with the same pain. When you stare into those sweet little newborn faces in the hospital and daydream about holidays and presents, you never imagine that you will have relinquish them to someone who doesn’t want anything to do with you, unless it suits them.
The picture perfect Christmas cards of yesterday burn in flames in the wake of divorce, leaving you with a feeling of being displaced and the uncertainty of how it’s all supposed to work.
“How do I navigate this? I don’t fit anywhere.” I remember asking God these very questions. It was a new path to figure out… one we were never meant to travel, but then, here we were.
So Dave and I invited others who were alone that holiday. We cooked a huge feast, laughed, played games, and it made the ache sting a little less that year. It didn’t take the place of those precious faces that we were missing.
Perhaps time has hardened me to not having my children with me each year at the holidays. Maybe I’ve finally reached a place of acceptance that this is what it is going to be.
But, I’d like to think it has a lot to do with what we chose to do. We have each year what we call the “Nordski” Christmas. “Nordski” is the combination of our children’s last names. This day is not on a major holiday, which frees the kids to do what they need to do as work schedules, and in-laws begin coming into play. We still get our holiday with them, and there is no competition or fighting, or guilt for the kids- which is most what we wanted to avoid for them.
Divorce and blended family is hard enough on them. How on earth would you be able to choose? I can’t even fathom having that weight on my shoulders.
So…out of your love for them, you set them free.
They know they are loved and wanted, but are free to come or go on the actual holidays- since we have already celebrated.
Today, we were blessed to have all 7 of our kids with us. I never thought I would see the day that this would happen on a holiday. It was a beautiful day of restoration, healing, and hope for what the future holds as we travel further from the pain and damage of divorce and into a new family. We laughed at memories of past holidays spent with our old families (not always easy). We created new memories, new inside family jokes, new laughter… we even made pilgrim hats- ok that was really for me.. As I am still mourning slightly at not being able to see them all little and rambunctious together… although today we had some pretty rambunctious moments!
Our God is so precious how He restores what once seemed hopeless and lost. As we exchanged hugs goodbye, I watched as these kids, torn from their original families by divorce have begun to embrace the now, and what is. Truly caring for each other… for the first time… in a long time… I felt like we had a family.
Even now, as I sit here, I’m in tears for all that we have endured as individuals, but most of all, mixed tears of sorrow and joy for what these super six people have survived and how beautiful they are becoming.
Stepville can be a torturous road, hard & painful. But as we link arms determined to accept what is, and longing to heal… God is faithful, He uses us to heal and grow each other, and He stuffs us FULL of Blessing!