(Thank you to Shara Lawrence-Weiss, Mommy Perks.)
A few years ago I wrote a post about this topic. The sentiment did well with readers and seemed to resonate with numerous people. With that in mind, I decided to resurrect the subject for 2012.
Lean On Us attempts to embrace differences and help people through hardships. They support and encourage their readers and I hope to do the same with this post.
Divorce really stinks. All the way around, divorce stinks. I told my readers once that it can even affect your child’s spelling! (Read: Be careful – divorce might affect your child’s spelling.)
Humor aside… when I divorced my son’s father, many years ago, I made a decision: I wanted to be one of those parents who never badmouths the ex. I failed miserably at times, I’ll be honest. It’s not easy to say all nice things about someone you left. I’ve gotten better over the years, though. I’ve worked hard to catch myself, before blurting something out. I’ve also found a great deal of support through my colleagues and friends Wendy (Kidlutions) and Ava (Listen To Me Please). Both women have a background in counseling.
One of the things that has always been important to me is the action of having my son pick out gifts for his father. My son is now almost 14 and for the last ten years I’ve encouraged him to make homemade gifts for his dad, to choose something at the store or to order something online. Now and again my son has said, “Why do you keep doing this? Dad has given you a few gifts over the years but you make me give him something for every birthday and every holiday. Why? It’s annoying.” I reply, “He’s your father. I want you to respect him and to show him that you love him. I don’t expect anything in return. That’s not why I do this. I’m doing this for YOU. It’s teaching you to be considerate of someone else and I believe there is value in that lesson. Your future wife may thank me, too.”
Over the years, the gifts have modified: homemade ornaments, homemade photo albums, cash, gift cards, sweaters, dinner coupons that he can use with his girlfriend, home baked pies and more. I don’t always have a lot of additional money to spend, as I have a large family now. I consider it a must-do list item, though: having my son involved in choosing something for his father. I believe that this builds empathy and EI (Emotional Intelligence)… for both of us.
Wishing you a Merry Divorced Christmas. From my imperfect home to yours.
Image courtesy of Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net