Saturday, November 15, 2008

How I know the holiday season is upon us

As the divorced parent of a small child, there are some unpleasant things I've had to learn to deal with. Never having enough time to successfully accomplish anything is one. Sharing weekends is another. Dealing with a vomiting child all alone is a third. The list goes on and on. One of the most unpleasant by far is sharing holidays, and as we enter another holiday season the tensions are beginning to rise.

The Ex and I are cool. It is not us causing the tension. While this holiday thing is a bummer, it's also expected, planned out years in advance through a handy parenting plan. We both know who has The Kid on which holidays on which years, and on which surrounding weekends. We are very respectful of the other's designated time with The Kid, and schedule events accordingly so as not to encroach on time allotted for the other side of the family.

The Ex's mother, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Parenting plans, it would seem, do not apply to her. It is not uncommon at all to get a request from her to "borrow" The Kid for some special event. I have no problem with the requests - I am, in fact, generally very accommodating of them. But sometimes I have to tell her no, and this is never accepted well. Usually a temper tantrum ensues, complete with pouting, cries of "no fair!", and blissful silent treatments.

I've been weathering one such tantrum for the past few weeks.

Every year, The Ex's Mom throws a holiday party complete with a (bad) Santa impersonator. And every year, The Ex's Mom asks which weekends in December The Kid is scheduled to be with his dad, and then plans the party for whatever weekend she wants anyway.

This year, The Kid is with his dad for the latter part of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, plus the weekend after. I have him for Christmas Eve during the day, plus the weekend prior. With a truncated holiday, a lot of our plans to hang out and watch our annual Christmas movie, bake cookies, see extended family, etc. are planned for the weekend before Christmas.

The Ex's Mom is aware of this, and originally planned the party for two weekends before Christmas, which is a weekend that The Kid is already scheduled to be with his dad. She later changed her mind, and decided to reschedule to the weekend before Christmas.

My weekend.

When asked if I would be willing to give up The Kid that Saturday, I considered it. And then I said no. But The Ex's Mom refuses to revert to the originally scheduled weekend because she claims December 13 is too early to have a Christmas party. And now she is furious with me because I won't rearrange my family's Christmas plans to accommodate a party that could just as easily be thrown a weekend earlier.

It happens every year. She asks for something outside of "the plan" and then, when she doesn't get it, she makes everyone's lives a living hell until January.

Happy holidays.

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