I'm hoping you can help. My dd is 4.5 and christmas is huge to us. We are already in the swing of it all and loving it. Christmas is so much to us- so many traditions, fun things etc... DD is also becoming such a caring person. This year we "adopted" two children from the salvation army and it has been so heartwarming to see dd shop for them. This season is very "magical" to us and full of family and togetherness. It's how I was raised and what I am doing for dd.
However, when i think of xh and xmas i feel like the grinch takes over. Even when we were together I called him the grinch- he doesn't like holidays, decorate, get dd a tree or anything. He buys her gifts, but puts no thought into them. There is no "magic" or fun with him or his family. Last year santa brought her gifts to his mothers house but his mom wouldn't let her open any packages bc it would make a mess. So she cried and wanted to come home to her presents and family as they want her to sit there while they have adult conversations that don't include her. And he did let her come home early thankfully.
She went with him for 1.5 hours on thanksgiving and cried, didn't eat or talk to anyone (she told me and he did too) yet his mother texted me saying what a good time they had- yeah, sounds great! She hates to go and see his family (driving past their house makes her nervous) and she really doesn't like going to see him all that much- not uncommon for her to cry about that too and refuse to get in his car.
He will take her for 2 hours or so on christmas morning and I know this is going to upset her so much. She is already dreading it (she has anxiety). Unfortunately there is not much I can do bc its court ordered. But I feel terrible that on such a special day that is supposed to be so fun, she will have to spend a part of the day crying to come home. Then she comes home and has to take time to "recover" from the stress. It's not her fault that her dad takes less than 10% of his time with her- yet shes the one who suffers.
As I think about this, I find myself getting so angry with him for what I know she will go through. I'm starting to let it get in the way of having to communicate with him re visits etc... Maybe its a good thing though- bc maybe it will make me hate him enough to not care about any of the other bs he pulls?
I can't stand the fact that parents who fail to see their children on normal days of the year (when they have access to and choose to not be a part of their day to day life) automatically get time on the holidays!
I have tried to include him in some of the holiday festivities in hopes of her building some holiday memories with him that could then transfer to him/his family. This is a strategy we have used with her therapist- we invite him to do something with us so she starts to build a positive association with him/activity while I am present as her comfort person. But, he refuses.....or actually refuses to even reply to me or therapist.
Any suggestions? I refuse to let him ruin our holiday!!!