Holiday Schedule/Shuffle . . .

A year ago (almost to the day) my daughter's mother and I finalized our divorce.

While it wasn't "pretty" and there was lots of emotion and awkwardness - I would dare say it is in the 95th percentile of peaceful divorces. No lawyers asking for every e-mail or text message sent. No depositions. No overly-dramatic stand-offs in the driveway over the muffin trays or the toaster oven. We didn't argue about money. We both simply wanted it over and fair financials, equal access to our daughter, and peace in the land of Amore.

If I'm being honest . . . the fight was all but gone - from both of us - long before we moved to settlement.

However there was ONE thing we fought over . . . clarity.

The little, petty emotional pangs that nag and pick at the back of your brain when things fall apart. Not just the 20/20 of hind-sight that makes you wonder what you didn't see, hear, know or when and where the trust broke, etc. but - more importantly - the questions about what things might be like moving forward.

While we never really socialized as a couple there were those moments when life presumes a spouse or a family unit . . . wedding invitations, school concerts, parent/teacher conferences, falling in the shower (to clarify - one of the most horrifying realizations of being "alone" in my 20s (and perhaps forever) was the scene when Miranda falls in the shower and has to call Carrie for help . . . who sends Aidan instead) or catching a cold and just needing some GOT-damned soup. Those moments were always "us" and we rose to the occasion. Another time we would at least put on the smiles and be together as a family? The HOLIDAYS!!!

Yes, yes. The season is once again upon us (or has been since f*cking July if you ask an end cap display at Target) where "THE Holidays" are a subject of conversation and scheduling torture. Unlike the last several years where I didn't care who I might have spent the days with, I wanted (and GOT) NO ONE around me. I've taken my daughter to Denny's the last few Thanksgivings for breakfast (really a quite nice tradition, thank you very much (we both love breakfast food more than fat men and their daughters love breakfast food)) and then she has spent the balance of the day with her mother and her mother's family and whomever else surrounds the table.

Christmas - which is really little more than a secular tryst with stockings and Santa gifts that will soon exhaust itself in our family - was spent the same way. Some Santa action and then breakfast. I'm telling ya', we love Denny, his food, and his hospitality. Following a little time the kiddo, once again, spent the balance of the day with her mother. I, a Jew who never really "got" Christmas even when I was in the fold of believers spent the balance of the day with movies, reading, Chinese food, and lounging about.

Okay . . . to the point. THIS year is going to be (once again) weird. You see my daughter has two parents who are both in what seem to be happy, healthy, adult relationships with people who seem to have happy, healthy, adult relationships with their families (the kid's head might actually explode surrounded by so much love and good cheer) and everything is great other than the nagging notion that her parents are missing that one thing that plagued us for so long . . . clarity.

Even though we wrote out and signed off on a plan that was stamped by the good judge and the power vested in him by the district court of the great whateverdy-doo . . . we are both suddenly freaking out that our child might actually have, this year and for the great beyond, OPTIONS for where to spend her holidays and more than just two parents to spend them with.

So our verbal commitments that modify the alternating calendar we are legally agreed upon suddenly seems to be nothing more than words and - well - words are not exactly the clarity we seek in this family dynamic.

So here we sit . . . a few weeks away from the first official "Running of the Holiday Bulls" and we have a sorta plan that seems overly self-protective and generally petty (on both sides) of the fence that basically arrives at what will someday be our daughter's conclusion . . . I'm scared that you are moving on with your life and that might, indirectly, challenge back to the life we once shared and the home we tried to build and the roles we enjoyed as Mother and Father (big M and F - for self-indulgence) and the presumption that no one else would ever challenge ANY of that . . . much less the last part. The only part we still have left. The thing we know we'll let go of soon enough.

The good news? There are six weeks of this chaos each year and they proverbially fly by.

The better news? EVERYONE in our new, strange, expanding family appreciates breakfast foods and Denny's.