Chex Mix, Muffins, and Possibilities

Here is a singular gratitude: Thanksgiving.  After years of being a divorced parent and participating in my daughter's designated holiday schedule, I've come to really enjoy Thanksgiving.  This is major for me.  I Do Holidays.  I LOVE holidays.  I love spending a day with my girls and family -- nestled at home, eating food, sharing in rituals and tradition.   Throughout my life, holiday routines have kept me grounded.  So being grateful for Thanksgiving seemed a given... until divorce.  Divorce ushered in a new tradition: waving goodbye to my daughters.

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that my daughters get to spend with their dads.  The importance that I placed on their holiday traditions didn't end with my marriages.  Even though I'd now be removed from their Thanksgiving, I wanted their traditions to continue and grow.  Divorce didn't change the concept, just the practice.  For my one daughter, it has meant 15+ years of getting in the car with her dad's family and driving across states to Grandma and Grandpa's house down South.  For my other daughter, it's a developing tradition with her dad that always includes a very large turkey.  I'm grateful that they're being raised in family traditions, even when those traditions don't involve me.

I admit I wasn't always so grateful.  I was terrified that first year.  As my young daughter was being driven away, I was sick with worry that I would never see her again -- divorce has a way of making you very fearful.  When she returned 5 days later, I was so very relieved.  The best part was her stories. She was excited to tell me of her Thanksgiving adventure!  I smiled and wished I had a Thanksgiving adventure to relay back to her.  From that moment, I put a quiet plan into action.  The plan wasn't complex, just a mind-set that I was going to look at my Thanksgivings as an opportunity.

The next Thanksgiving came, and I made Chex mix and muffins.  Chex mix and muffins have sustained me through years of Thanksgivings without my girls.  Instead of fretting about the looming departure, I made Chex mix.  Enough for me, enough for my daughter to share with her dad on the car ride, and enough for my extended family.  When divorce number two happened and my second daughter headed off for Thanksgiving, she also left with a bag of Chex mix in her pack.  In some small way, the process of making this snack turned into a preparation for me.  Preparing my heart that the time of leaving was soon, and preparing my children with a goody bag of traveling munchies.  Yep, after all these years, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving (a few days early) without the smell of double butter and season-salt Chex mix in the house.  We are all grateful for that.  Yum.

Thanksgiving muffins were a bit more deliberate.  I sought those out.  Thanksgiving morning doesn't come with ready made activity.  No religious rituals, no commercial rituals, nothing.  I had nothing.  I needed something.  I needed purpose, good smells, and something to share.  I needed to get up early and accomplish something.  I needed awesome Thanksgiving muffins.  And, ooooh, they are so good: pumpkin, cranberry, walnuts and spice bliss.  My reward is a mere 17 minutes away, piping hot out of the oven with a cup of coffee.  Now THAT's Thanksgiving morning.  A double recipe is enough to have some for traveling. 

Over the years, Chex mix and muffings have been my constant companion, travelling with me to my family's house across town and travelling with me across the ocean as I've collected Thanksgiving adventures to tell my girls. I still crave tradition in my holiday, but it's pretty awesome that my tradition fits into my carry-on luggage.   My Thanksgivings are no longer filled with loss, but of possibilities.  This is now my story.

Thank you to my ex for taking our daughter on that first Thanksgiving holiday.  It's been a journey, but the panic has long subsided, ushering in Thanksgivings filled with Chex mix, muffins, and possibilities.

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Mindful thinker and author, Ellen Kellner, guides parents through The Pro-Child Way® of nurturing their child’s spirit through her intuition, discernment, and experience.  Her book The Pro-Child Way: Parenting with an Ex provides 46 pro-child solutions for typical divorced-parenting situations. www.ANewDivorce.com

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