What holiday challenges are you facing? Yours will look different than mine but I’m sure you have some. We have a choice as to how we will respond to those challenges.
My oldest daughter will spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas in South Africa this year. She’s been gone since May on a long-term missionary assignment and as the holidays draw closer, I find myself grieving.
I couldn’t keep the tears from slipping down my cheeks recently at the grocery store. It caught me off guard to see the carton of Eggnog next to the milk I was buying. Eggnog is my daughter’s favorite beverage at the holidays. No one else in our family drinks it but I always buy it especially for her. I couldn’t leave the aisle quick enough as I realized I wouldn’t be buying it this year.
Grief attacks happen for parents and kids alike at the holidays. Maybe you’re grieving the loss of what you’d like your holiday to look like but know it won’t. Or maybe you’re unhappy with the schedule that’s been arranged with your kids or your stepkids. Many stepparents grieve because of the outsider feeling they sense during the holiday season.
If you’re struggling with grief for any reason, seek to fill up your love tank. Look for ways to offer love to others or ask for love from others, such as your spouse. Let your spouse know when you’re having a difficult day. Ask for what you need — don’t expect others to read your mind.
Take another stepparent or someone who needs a friend to lunch. When we connect with friends and encourage others, we take the focus off ourselves.
Don’t ruminate over your problems with others. I love this quote I read recently by Rita Schiano, “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” Accept the situation and make the best of it. This too will pass. The sun always shines again after the rain.
Count your blessings. Look for things to be thankful for. Although my daughter won’t be here next week on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful we can Skype with her that day. Maybe you won’t be with your kids on the holiday, but you can send a note or a special text to let them know your heart is still with them.
You can expect bumps as part of your holiday journey. But you don’t have to allow them to control your emotions.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
How do you trudge through the bumps? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more holiday tips, follow my blog and Heather Hetchler’s blog at CafeSmom as we share tips from our holiday e-book, Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace, every Mon, Wed and Friday. Our e-book is a great tool to help you and all stepparents find peace during the holidays and beyond. It’s packed with proven tools and tips, personal stories and a list of recipes and new holiday traditions you can create with your stepfamily.
pic by renjith krishnan