As summer draws to a close, I begin thinking about next year's "family vacation."
One thing I've learned about divorce is that no two are the same. So rather than create a bullet point list for how to make a week at the beach with your ex happen, I've inserted below in italics how our "family vaction" came to be, adapted from part of a post on my blog, Confessions of a Worrywart, about that first year.
Broaching the Idea of a Family Vacation With my Ex
It started that summer of 2004, when camps, trips and jobs allowed only 9 days that all three girls were available at the same time. Steve called me to discuss how to divvy up the time.
I searched my mind for a way to get 5 days to his 4.
But then I had a eureka moment and suggested that rather than each of us taking a mini holiday with the kids, all 5 of us could go away together for twice as long. Without hesitation, Steve agreed.
Even during the worst moments, we had managed to compartmentalize our differences and problem solve whenever issues arose regarding the girls. In fact, I was often secretly grateful for a crisis, so I could experience the fuzzy feeling of good will between Steve and me.
Finding a house
Back when Steve and I were still married, we used to pack up the car and head to the beach, where I would plop everyone down and then go search for a house. Call it my way of living on the edge.
Some years Steve has rented a house for the summer. In which case, I pay all the other expenses. Other years we share all expenses after going online and renting a house sight-unseen.
We all have preferences, most of which coincide. We like to be not too far from town or the beach. This year we were near the beach, but Steve preferred a farther location for body surfing.
In so many ways we are like other families. In some ways less so. If we were still married, I suspect I would have whined about not wanting to go to the farther beach. Being divorced, I try harder to accommodate.
Some of us bike to the beach and, this year, the distance seemed daunting, but in the end we were grateful for the exercise and the scenic 15 miles a day of pedaling.
Though not a must-have, we also enjoy having a pool for splashing around in the late afternoon. I remember a streak of pleasure shooting through me during our first season when my oldest daughter proclaimed, "The whole family's in the pool!"
That's how it feels when we all get together, like a whole family.
In Part 2, I will discuss how we spend our evenings, how we socialize and how we have dealt with significant others.
Please share this with others, especially those who are divorced. Our family vacation is such a win-win-win-win-win situation for us, and it has meant the world to our daughters.
What do's and don'ts have you heard about regarding divorced families and how they share their lives? I'd love to hear your comments!
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