Single Mom Slice of Life:
Holiday Traditions Once The Kids Are Grown


The holidays!  That time of year when patience runs short, car trips run long, and my liquor cabinet runs low.

Over Thanksgiving, I was sitting with a friend who also has two older boys. Hers are officially grown twenty-somethings and living away from home, and when I asked where they were, she simply shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know. They’re grown. They have their own lives now.”

We just (as in about 36 hours ago) returned from our annual trip to California from Arizona to visit friends, family, and the local greasy fast food joint we didn’t think twice about when we lived there – but can’t NOT drive through now. During that trip, I thought about how different my family was from hers. It’s the holidays – isn’t it law that family gather together in forced joy and happiness?

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I had started the trip off optimistic, excited that my sons and I would be forced to spend quality bonding time together. By mile 333 of nearly 1000, I was over it. The kids were fighting over bottles of water, my car began to reek of jalapeno flavored cheese puffs, stale hamburgers… and boys. No one could decide if fresh air or heat would win. And quite frankly, as much as I love his music, there are only so many miles of Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell 2 that one can take before tossing the CD out of the window.

Was there something to what I had heard over Thanksgiving? Once the kids grow up, should I just let them go?

In my mind, my kids are supposed to come home each holiday, call each weekend, and get excited to return to the familial core during times of gingerbread cookies and sugar plum fairies. But… is it realistic?

I don’t visit my family… partly for drama, partly for distance. They don’t call me, I don’t bother them, and quite frankly for them, I’ve always been the “out of sight, out of mind” daughter of the group. But, when did I become a hypocrite? Or… is it possible there really is an age limit on forced family fun?

Admittedly, I am having trouble letting go of my kids. Victims of domestic violence, I will admit to having shut our lives down once I was finally able to walk away. We learned to live minute to minute, day to day, and eventually month to month. Is it possible, in my own way, I’m still in lock-down mode?

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They enjoy visiting family and friends – don’t get me wrong… but it’s not as though they wouldn’t ever see them. They get, make, and have phone calls, Skype sessions, and constant email/texting sessions with everyone we would have seen. And other visits are made throughout the year. Maybe the hundreds of miles of forced confinement were really only for me? And exactly how big of a cow will I have when they finally break it to me that they just don’t want to make the trips anymore?

Well, until we find out, I guess, as a mom it is my privilege to torture my teenagers with holiday road trip filled with fast food, rock opera and stories of the good ole days.

What about you? Are there traditions you do that you can see are coming to an end? How will you know when to call it a day? What will you do instead?