Marjorie JamesI have spent three weeks exploring the whole after-divorce holiday and celebration scenario, which is more than I have spent on any other topic. However, I hope you will allow me one more; I want to add my own thoughts on this. Please understand that I am not a professional Collaborative person, so these ideas may not be endorsed by the ones who are. However, the “flavor” of what I am going to say was embedded in everything Kristin told me.

First of all, I think it is important for the ex-spouses to understand that they are the adults in the room. Holidays and celebrations are not usually for them; they are for the children. Sure, adults enjoy the whole thing, but ultimately, all they do for the holidays is to make a memory for the precious little, and not so little, ones. Adults need to grow up, put personal animosity aside as much as possible and figure out how to make things work. Besides, staying angry is hard work!

As long as the children are around, ex-couples will be around each other. Graduations, weddings, grandchildren, and family memorial services will occur and will need to be conducted in a way that draws attention to the major players, not adults stamping their feet or pouting. As I read the other day, parents “need to put on their big-boy boots and do what is best for the children.”

Parents also need to realize that these celebrations must be flexible. What works for a six year old will probably not work for a 16 year old, divorced parents may get remarried, new babies may be born, people will move, and children will grow up. Plans will need to be changed and adjusted, and open communication will be essential.

Divorce is not a pleasant part of anyone’s life, but it is a reality that needs to be “done” in such a way that the participants’ experiences are not ruined. There will be negative consequences; change usually ensures that. However, consequences can be mitigated by two adults who, in the midst of highly emotional times, like celebrations, can act in such a way that positive, albeit different, memories can be made. It seems to me that it is essential.

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.