I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Next in line is Christmas, as you all well know. This can be a very stressful time of year as you travel alone to places known for entertaining families. I travel to Florida once a month to help out my dad and I have found it very lonely to see all the families together, excited about going to see a large rodent, while I am totally alone. Here’s how I cope with the situation:
I find a nuclear family waiting at the same gate as my flight and engage them in conversation. It helps that I was an original cast member at Walt Disney World, since this lets me talk to them about their upcoming trip to see Mickey and the gang. Their eyes get big and I share some tidbit of what it was like to work for the mouse (it was fun!). This makes them feel good about their decision to go there and it gives me someone to talk to while we are waiting, without being creepy.
What if you have never worked in the place you are traveling to? Well, perhaps you could compliment the parents on how well-behaved their kids are or what intelligence they demonstrate (this works when little kids have a good vocabulary- studies show that it is a sign of intelligence). Parents will not generally stop you from talking when you are complimenting their kids! Do be sincere- don’t fake it. This will keep your mind off of your situation while allowing you to make a new but temporary friend.
I do not suggest striking up a conversation with someone who might misinterpret your friendliness, if you get my drift. Do not talk to children who are alone, though I once found it nice to talk to non-custodial parents about their young child who was flying alone. I promised to keep an eye on the child while making a point of not sitting with her on the plane. I gave the teary-eyed child a big “thumbs up” as I boarded the flight; she smiled because I was a familiar face by then. I did not see her again until the end of the flight, but she was happy to know that she knew someone on board.
I hope this helps and pray that you have a lovely holiday season.
It is coming up on a very difficult time of year for those who have recently lost their spouses, but let’s take a moment to talk about whether or not you should do anything special to decorate your home for Christmas.
It may seem like you are being unfaithful to your spouse’s memory if you decorate and find joy in the coming season. I understand those feelings, having lost my first spouse right after Christmas. I had a small son, however, and felt that the decorations were necessary to give him some sense of normalcy at a time when not much else felt that way.
If you can at all manage to do it, decorating can be a way to step back into a somewhat “new normal” and I encourage you to at least consider doing it, even in a small way. Perhaps you don’t feel up to setting up a tree but maybe the nativity set and some garland might be manageable. You might not want to get out the Christmas china but maybe a goofy mug might cheer your day a bit.
Whatever you decide, I pray that this coming Christmas will be a blessing to you.
I recently saw an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a while. I asked how she was doing; it was a shock when she told me that her hubby had left for an old flame- his high school sweetheart that he had reconnected with through Facebook. Talk about an awkward silence! How do you handle such an occurrence?
After hemming and hawing for a few minutes, I realized that a beautiful, accomplished woman was standing in front of me. She had been dumped through absolutely no fault of her own and she was hurting.
I asked her some basic questions about what had happened and then I simply asked how she was doing. She admitted that the past year had been difficult for her family and that it was going to take some time before they were back to “normal.” The “new normal,” whatever that would turn out to be. Like me, she is a Christian, so I said I would pray for her.
It might have seemed best to compliment her but it appeared to be best just to listen to what she had to say. Yes, she is slender and attractive but she wasn’t digging for compliments that said she is gorgeous and her husband is a fool. Two families and four children had been affected by this disaster. She just needed to share what she was going through. Sometimes listening, and praying for the person, are the best things that we can do to help ease the individual’s pain.
Okay, so this topic causes a lot of consternation among people, but I have talked to several divorcees who did, in fact, see something coming. Here are some tips that your hubby might not be walking the straight and narrow:
Does he take phone calls into another room or outside when you enter the room he is in?
Does he suddenly spend a lot of money on his teeth? For example, did a man who cares nothing for the condition of his teeth suddenly go through a lot of expensive cosmetic dental work? Did he take the money to pay for it out of your joint medical savings account? Did he try to hide that work from you?
Did he suddenly become very interested in his clothing? Does he buy new clothes, have you wash them, and then they disappear? Does he show up with a bag full of dirty laundry that you need to wash and then put the now-full bag back in his car after you clean the clothes?
Does he hint around that he might not stay around for much longer? Does he suddenly try to build memories with your kids (but not with you), saying that “something might happen to me?” but there’s nothing wrong with his health?
Does he hide financial issues from you? Does he spend a lot of time shredding things that come in the mail? Does he hide his total income information from you? Does he expect you to sign your joint tax returns without knowing what you have signed?
Does he spend more time away from you than with you? Does he leave the room right after dinner and then spend the evening trying to avoid being with you?
Does he talk about how happy his divorced friends at work are, now that they divorced their long-time wife and married the young chick at the office? Does he build up the ex-wife as a monster and tell you how much he LOVES the new wife, who is the age of the man’s oldest child (or younger)? Does he justify adultery on the grounds that men who have nothing in common with their wives are entitled to cheat?
Does he go on a lot of business trips without giving you a copy of the airline tickets, giving you a handwritten copy of his itinerary, but never showing you the actual ticket itself? When you called with a family emergency while he was gone, did he tell you he wouldn’t come home because he was “on vacation and I’m not cutting my trip short?”
My dear, these a definite hints that “something is rotten in Denmark” or wherever, and you might want to find a marriage counselor or a good attorney.