We’ve been putting it off for weeks now. Putting away the Christmas stuff is usually done by the first weekend in January but this year the tree stayed up, the nutcrackers still watched over us at dinner from the buffet, and the collection of Santas continued to greet guests in the front hall. The stockings were still hung by the chimney with care and if it weren’t for the dog, I suspect the half eaten cookies and carrots would have lingered on Santa’s plate until now too.
You see, we had to go through the Christmas stuff as we put it away and divide it up. Half for him, half for me. We knew we’d have to consider each ornament and cookie jar, each holiday glass and plate and decide who was keeping each item. A daunting prospect and one that both of us avoided for weeks. We haven’t really begun discussing any of the details or logistics of the divorce in earnest yet so this was the first time we actually had to decide something that was unchangeable. Even though we told our families and our kids just before Thanksgiving, other than figuring out the logistics of the holidays, we haven’t had to confront this reality so concretely.
It’s probably a good thing that we let the stuff stay up a little longer this year. By the time today rolled around, it felt like a necessary thing to do rather than a bittersweet chore. We talked in general about the stuff we don’t have two of, like the tree and the stockings, and quickly were able to agree that I would have those and that he would keep the nutcracker and Santa collections he had grown over the years. There were a few other holiday knick knacks to figure out and both of us seemed more interested in keeping this palatable for the other than keeping any thing in particular. Even when we got to the ornaments on the tree, the most sentimentally charged of all, we had no problems or conflicts figuring out who kept the gingerbread man Declan made or the handmade ornaments Mairen had made us in years past. I’m not saying it was a joy, but it was less anxiety producing than I expected.
It’s tempting to hope that the rest of the process will go as smoothly and perhaps it will. We have always been good parents together and today as the boys helped us pack things up, that hadn’t changed. Thank you Kevin.