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mom with kids by Christmas tree
(© LuminaStock iStockPhoto.com)
It’s been five years, and still I struggle with transitions.
 
I would have thought by now there’d be no problem whatsoever when my ex-husband picked up our children.
 
And yet there is.
 
There is no conflict between him and me, no issues of arguing or glaring or anything. It’s just the transition.
 
It’s not like I even think about it. It just is awkward.
 
And tonight was no different.
 
My ex-husband is often late, and no matter how hard I try to get my kids organized, there is always a measure of chaos when he arrives.
 
Even though he’s late, we can’t seem to be ready.
 
Tonight was no exception.
 
Let me set up the scene for the disaster.
 
It was our only night for my children and me to decorate our tree together because of school, work and bedtime schedules. And because it was their night with their dad, we had about an hour to do it.
 
I was ready. Dinner was made. All the boxes of decorations had been brought up. The stage was set for a lovely hour of decorating.
 
And we had a lot of fun, even though not all the children were excited to be decorating. My 7-year-old escaped outside to play with the neighbors, my 12-year-old had a very difficult time getting his face away from his iPod, and my 16-year-old lasted about 15 minutes before she needed food. It ended up being my 6-year-old and me decorating with my 19-year-old keeping us entertained. A tad goofy but still good!
 
As our hour to decorate became an hour and a half, my little girls worried they were going to miss a special math and science event at their school. They’d been talking about it for weeks. I should probably have just taken them on time, but we had so much to do and I thought they would enjoy doing it with their dad.
 
When their dad did arrive, it seemed like everything just fell apart—including me.
 
My oldest daughter was up in her room doing her hair and makeup. A bit on the bad timing side of things and absolutely unnecessary—she’s beautiful.
 
My shoeless middle son was frantically looking for his iPod, which my oldest son had hidden (with my blessing).
 
My 7-year-old was ready and at her father’s car almost before it stopped. She wanted to get to school fast! They were already 45 minutes late.
 
My 6-year-old was shoeless and decided to redo her hair—only she can’t redo her hair. She’s at the age where she can mess it up really well but absolutely not fix it.
 
Then my 7-year-old came back in because the tinfoil hat she needed to wear to the school event was tearing. She was close to tears.
 
As I was searching for tape to fix the hat, I glanced around and realized that my teenagers hadn’t done any of the things I’d asked them to do.
 
It just seemed like everything went kablooey.

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