The holidays are one of the many drawbacks post-divorce. A time that once brought me such joy now consumes me in a tornado of expenses, stress and scheduling conflicts.
This Thanksgiving was mine to spend with our son, R. However when R’s football coach announced we had a tournament in Las Vegas over the holiday weekend, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. Don’t get me wrong, I was just as excited as R upon hearing the news. Visions of my son and I on a plane, cuddling in a hotel room before joining the team for Thanksgiving dinner got me all warm inside. Unfortunately, with the high cost of holiday travel, that vision quickly dissipated.
My ex and I get along well. So, I proposed we rent a car and split the costs to make the trip. He casually dismissed this idea and informed me he and R were catching a ride with a teammate. They would be home Sunday and he would return R to me then. I was crushed. I was mad. I even cried. But, knowing him like I do, I decided not to push the issue.
I planned to keep myself busy. I would spend Thanksgiving day watching my Cowboys game and then head over to my girlfriend’s for dinner. Friday I had scheduled a second date with a nice man in South Bay. The remainder of the weekend, I would spend getting the house dialed in for the holidays, in turn surprising R when he got home from his trip. I could do this. “I got this shit handled!” would be my holiday weekend mantra.
Thanksgiving came and went. I missed R, but all in all, had a good day and I got a lot of shit done (like fixing my vacuum – myself!!).
Friday, I woke early so I could chat with R before his game. I sent my ex a text and then our conversation went something like this:
Ex: Wishing this tournament was closer for you and the family to come. Certainly missing that aspect of life right now once again :((((
Me: Me, too..
Ex: Why don’t you rent a car and come surprise your son? I will split the cost with you. You can bunk in our room, if you share R’s bed (um, duh- me).
Me: You don’t have to tell me twice! I will text you when I am on my way!
I couldn’t call my date quick enough to reschedule. He was less than supportive (future blog post, stay tuned). I was going to be spontaneous and surprise my boy and watch him play his final football game of the season!
The Ex texted me, as I got into town and told me to go relax at the hotel, since the team was all at Circus Circus. I was too excited for the surprise and offered to join them at Adventuredome. It only took about 45 minutes to park and another 30 to find them but when I saw The Ex, he had a Lime-A-Rita waiting for me. So, we were off to a good start! I looked around this dome of chaos (Did I tell you how much I really love my son?) and waited for R to exit a ride. I saw him in the distance casually walking in my direction, his eyes darting around at all the rides and people and then almost as if he felt me there, he looked up. His eyes locked onto mine briefly. Then he glanced away. After a few more steps, he looked at me again and that’s when his smile consumed every inch of his freckled face. He ran up to me and opened his arms as wide as he could. He buried his head into my chest and I held onto him and that moment for as long as I could.
The weekend had every ingredient of a Hallmark Christmas movie. The first night as we settled into bed, R whispered, “That was a really, big surprise, mom.” And if that wasn’t enough to give George Bailey a run for his “holiday money”, our football team brought home the championship trophy! My ex and I got along famously, I didn’t even wince when he rolled in to our room at 1 am Friday night. Plus, it was sure nice to be able to split all the travel expenses with someone.
We hadn’t spent Thanksgiving together in 3 years. But when I look back on Thanksgiving 2015, I will be filled with a different version of that “holiday joy” I once had. It may not have been a traditional family celebration, but it was special nonetheless.
In addition to all the other amazing things in my life, I have to say, I am grateful for My Ex this year.