This is my second Thanksgiving as a divorced mom. It’s an overly long break and I wanted to get the kids out of town rather than awkwardly “celebrate” a controversial holiday with a bland meal in Boulder. We were never great at the traditional holidays and mostly relied on throwing a party and gathering people, even during the best of times. But Covid and the divorce disrupted that feeling of casual comfort at the Frye House amongst friends and acquaintances. Plus, I’m no longer the Lady of the House and don’t feel comfortable even pretending to inhabit that role.
I hit up my folks to go to Salt Lake City with the boys so they could have a better sense of where their grandparents live. It’s been a long time since they’ve visited and I really cherish the memory of my grandmother’s home in Ann Arbor. My folks had plans for Thanksgiving day so I flew in on Wednesday with my boys to spend a couple days with my best friend from my teenage years and on.
Since it was going to be the busiest travel day of the year, we left at 3am to catch an 8am flight. I predicted that TSA would be ready for the crush and we would have nothing but time on our hands but I preferred that to being stressed about it.
I was correct, we breezed through security in 20 minutes so we got creative on catching on our sleep.
Kristen picked us up at the airport and we were off to her home in the Mount Olympus neighborhood. It’s where Marcia lived when I met her and the drive brought back so many memories. We even managed to find her old home.
I recall her home being a shade of light green but it looked more or less the same otherwise. It doesn’t look like much, I’ll admit, but it was heaven to me in the 80s before people started building insanely beautiful palaces. What I loved the most about it were the floor-to-ceiling windows on the back side that opened to a gorgeous view of Mount Olympus. Mostly what I loved was the atmosphere of light, abundance, female companionship, and love. I’m glad it is still standing.
Kristen is just wrapping up an epic remodel of her home. I haven’t been there for almost a decade, I believe it was for my 2015 high school reunion. Or maybe it was 2010? I can’t remember. It was a nice house back then but wow, it is gorgeous now.
Her views are simply breathtaking and the air was unseasonably clear, I could see all the way to lake. While I’m not one for a city view, her house had the city and the mountains and it was dazzling at night.
My favorite part of the experience was watching her with my boys. She doesn’t have kids and there was a time when I was so deep in raising small kids that we didn’t have much time to connect or anything in common but our past. But she made it clear to me that she was a “lifer” and when I was ready, she would be waiting for me. So here I am, and with my kids.
I loved watching her interact with them, they are the right age for her to relate to and she did what she always does, she moves.
I love movers because they connect with people using bodies and movement as a common language. It’s a wonderful way to interact with teenagers. Nothing makes me happier than seeing people I love getting along. It is a great source of stress for me as I try to control the environment and micromanage the relationships.
For some reason I was able to let go of it. If they don’t interact, that’s their decision. If my kids have their faces in their phones, it’s not because they don’t know how I feel about it. If their behavior upsets someone, well, it is up to them to explain themselves if the upset person chooses to be direct and talk to them about it. These two infographics have been bouncing around my head for a few days.
I want to be careful to not be addicted to my trauma/drama. I don’t. I want to move forward in my life and I think I am, especially when I look at how I communicate with my sweetheart. I can see the change that comes with understanding why I act the way I do.
On our way back from the trip Micah said that he really enjoyed himself, that I didn’t seem to be monitoring him as closely as I usually do. As a result I felt more relaxed and he felt more relaxed. I was really happy to hear that. I let my kids be themselves. I reminded them to tidy their rooms and help with dishes, but beyond that I left it to them to decide how much and what kind of interaction they wanted. It’s not my job to build their relationships for them, not anymore. So I was happy when I saw them be with Kristen, because they wanted to.
We were with her Wednesday and Thursday and then went to my father’s house for the next two days. The guys got to geek out about electronics and football stats between drives around Salt Lake City to give them an idea of where I grew up.
We spent a lot of time lounging at my father’s house, so very different than the home I grew up in. Thanks to MaryAnn it is warm and comfortable and there is food!
It was hard being away from my sweetheart and we spent a lot of time texting and on the phone. Maintaining our bond has become a top priority for us and we don’t put conversations on hold until we can be together. We check in with each other and keep our momentum moving forward. I am so pleased with what we have accomplished with our quasi long-distance relationship and I love spending an hour on the phone with him at night. I feel like a teenager on the phone with her best friend.
While it is healthy to be apart from time to time, we are in such a deep state of love and bonding … we are leaning into it and enjoying it. There will come a time when circumstance requires us to put our energies elsewhere, but for now we are loving giving ourselves to each other.
Come Sunday morning we were ready to pack up and head back to Boulder. The boys had wonderful visit with their grandparents and hustled to the airport for an early flight. Everything went off without a hitch and I remembered what it was like to travel with them when they were babies. So much has changed, obviously. I was surprised when Casey grabbed my bag, I’m used to carrying the heavy stuff.
I’m not sure what Lonny has planned for Christmas. I was hoping he’d rally his family for a mini-reunion. I’ll be here if that doesn’t happen, I welcome the opportunity to have Christmas in Fort Collins with David’s mom and his housemate. He wants to spend more time with the boys. He observed that I am protective of my time with him and thus we don’t spend much time with my kids. He is partly correct, I also fear pushing the relationships too hard, but he has a point. I’ll take any time I can get with them.