The thrills and excitement of Christmas for young children never fails to disappoint. We had a nice dinner over my parents followed by late night wrapping of presents and the usual morning excitement to get started opening gifts.

My daughter will take this full speed ahead if we don’t restrain her. We have always tried to restrain ourselves, opening one gift at a time. It gives everyone time to enjoy the gift giving. I love watching her face, and her excitement as she uncovers what’s underneath each. And no matter what it is, she is usually very appreciative. She has a general appreciation for things, not just toys which helps.

As usual, my daughter made out like a bandit. She got the Wii Ballerina, Wii UDraw, several Hexbug micro-robots, A ToyStory Lego kit, A Barbie styling head, an alarm clock that shines the time on the wall, and about 20 more items including a book series designed to learn to read, a puzzle, toys, games, a hammock, jewelry etc.! Why wouldn’t a kid be excited about all of this? In the end she says, “I love Christmas. This is what it is all about.” So I said to her, “What’s this?” She responds, “It’s nice to give gifts.” Of course she didn’t give anything this year. LOL.

The Ballerina game was a disappointment. Things like this, I generally do look up before I buy. But I was in the store and it was in my face. It was an impulse buy. There is a LOT of reading and back and forth dialog that you must go through before the game even begins, and so far, there isn’t a whole lot of dancing. I’m hoping we can unlock more so she can really get something out of this.

The UDraw is an interesting concept but seems to have a steep learning curve. I guess I’m going to have to read the instructions and figure this all out.

The Barbie styling head…. well this is something I always wanted when I was a kid. She seems to like it. She has already combed her hair, did her nails and together, we put a braid on Barbie’s head. She’ll get a lot of fun.

Early this morning, before her daddy arrived, my mother and she played Qwirkle. It’s sort of like Dominos with scoring rules similar to scrabble. It works off of colors and shapes. This should be fun to play with, along with her Barbie checkers.

It’s a good thing that I have learned to have an amicable relationship with my ex-husband. It wasn’t always like this and he was very angry and bitter when we divorced. The divorce wasn’t a mutual decision. It was something I spent years contemplating and decided I needed to face my fears and just do it. We are able to have a somewhat smooth relationship now because he realized that working with me puts the welfare of his daughter above his own needs. Also, he had a few bad things happen to him since we split ways and I helped him out with these problems. No one else stepped up, so it was particularly remarkable considering how I felt at the time. That kind of generosity of spirit really touched him and made him want to reform the behavior that kept us fighting like cats and dogs. In the end it benefits my child, and that is what counts. He regrets losing me but has come to the realization that it was the right decision. I’m a LOT happier this way.

The decision to divorce isn’t easy. I believe you must do everything you can to make a marriage work. I was in denial about the problems for a very long time. I always looked toward the future. ”If this happens, then things will be good”.  And in the end, I spent my entire marriage looking to be happy sometime in the future rather han living happy in the now. I had communicated my concerns over and over but nothing changed long term. And after a lot of soul-searching and reflection I realized that beyond the communication issues we had, we just don’t have that much in common in terms of interest, personality, or world view. Initially, I thought love, good communication could overcome these obstacles, but I was deluded. For a few years, I tried to keep it together for her. In the end, I realized that the unhealthy atmosphere at home was NOT good for her and that she sensed it anyway.

I read a lot about the effect of divorce on the kids. And I realized the best thing for her was to emulate a healthy relationship. There was no way that was going to happen between her father and I. Besides there being too much water under the bridge, the reforms that I had once wanted were no longer adequate to fulfill my hearts desire. It was beyond too little too late. I realized that what I was willing to put up with in “good times” was selling my needs and desires for a relationship far too short. There was no way he was going to be able to meet my needs, even if he had done everything “right” because ultimately, if you are so different, it’s too much of a struggle to find common ground. Someone always has to compromise too much to make the other person happy. That’s no way to spend the rest of your life. I wish I had read,Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum, years ago. If lack of things in common was the only problem, perhaps we could have worked things out. But unfortunately, that was only the tip of a very sharp pointed iceberg. In forward postings, I will discuss all sorts of things that are fatal flaws to relationships in general. I will always speak in pretty general terms and not specifically about my marriage or other relationships to protect the identity of whomever I’m talking about.

It’s all for the best. Now we are both free to seek out mates that are better suited to our personalities and in the process, hopefully demonstrate to our daughter what a good, healthy, loving relationship looks like.

He will be taking her to movies this afternoon to see the new Yogi Bear movie in 3D. She will really enjoy it. I took her to see Tangled a few weeks ago and thought it was an excellent Disney movie. (I haven’t seen the gamut of Disney films but among the ones I have, this is one of the better ones. )

I’m thinking about getting “stuff” done while they are gone, but I can’t seem to get my butt out of my chair. I was up till after 2:30 last night talking to a friend, and woke up at 6:30. Perhaps, I’ll at least drop off the laundry so I can pick it up tomorrow. Commerce never sleeps in NY, at least a lot of it.