Spending the Holidays with Divorced Parents

My parents have been divorced for almost nine years, and the holidays are always an interesting time with divorced parents. One holiday in particular that really brings out the divorced parents fiasco is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving isn’t like Christmas; you can’t celebrate it the week before or the weekend after, or even the day after. Thanksgiving is a one-time deal. Which is why it’s a joy for us kids with divorced parents.

The past few years, I’ve started spending Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family instead of my mom’s. I spend pretty much every holiday with my mom; Christmas Eve is spent at my grandmother’s, Easter is spent with her family, even the 4th of July is a party with my mom’s side. My dad’s family meets all together once a year: Christmas. Other than that, you’re on your own. And let me say, our Christmas is celebrated before or after Christmas, never that day. Which is fine, it makes it easier for us divorced kids.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving. I used to spend it with my mom, but once I got a bit older, I started to spend it with my dad. One of the reasons for this is that my cousins on my mom’s side are all either men in their mid to late twenties, or younger than me. Believe me, my maternal cousins are great, but my cousins on my dad’s side are mostly girls, the oldest being 21. As I said earlier, my dad’s family doesn’t all get together on Thanksgiving, it’s basically the part of the family that lives in Southern Wisconsin. The Northern Wisconsin/Minnesota crew do their own thing, and we have ours. It’s just not worth getting all 25 of us together for one day, then having to make the same drive less than a month later for Christmas. That being said, the cousins who get together on Thanksgiving are currently 21, 19, 18, 17, and 15. Only one of those listed is a boy, the fifteen year old. You can see how I, being the 18-year-old girl, might gravitate towards that side of the family. I’ve had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving with my dad’s family, two of my cousins on that side are actually my best friends. Of course, that doesn’t stop the slight feeling of betrayal towards my mom’s family.

I know that my mom’s family aren’t the biggest fans of my dad, but that’s for another post. My point here is that, although I have a great time with my dad’s family on Thanksgiving, I do feel a sting of the feeling that I’m betraying my mom’s family. Dumb, isn’t it?  Surely they understand- he’s still my dad, and I rarely see that side of the family. Does my mom’s side of the family see it as “she’s choosing them over us”?

I do sit and wonder, what does my mom’s family think of me spending Thanksgiving with my dad? I hope they don’t care, honestly, but there’s a part of me that feels like they may be upset about it. I wonder if they feel like I’m choosing my dad’s side over them because I choose to spend Thanksgiving with my dad. Do they see it as such, or do they not care?

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It’s not about choosing one family over another, and I feel like that’s how a lot of kids of divorced parents feel. It’s not about choosing one parent over the other, either. In fact, sitting here, I don’t even know what it’s about. All I know is, us kids of divorced parents have a lot of crap running through our heads during the holidays, and we just want people to know that there’s nothing we can do about it. Our parents are divorced: it’s not our fault, and we’re going to spend the holidays wherever we feel like it. We’re not choosing one family over the other, but it sure as hell seems like it, doesn’t it?

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