Jax walked into the living room last night and said am I spending the week before Christmas with you or the week after? We responded in unison the week after. Like Thanksgiving we have been rotating the week before and after Christmas with our kids other families making the change on Christmas Day at 2:00 p.m. While the concept seems simple enough it actually has been quite stressful. Why you ask? Well the first eleven years we shared 50/50 custody with the other families for our three youngest. And as you may have guessed, 50/50 means 50/50. No one wants to get screwed out of time especially during the Holidays!
So in past years, Raylan and I would sit down with the calendar from November through January 1st. Outline the schedule as dictated by the rotation and then the hard part started; making up of days. Since the rotating schedule rarely fell upon our current weekend schedule and since we split the weekdays it meant switching day for day and it couldn't be just any days. We would literally have to count up the days that each family had during the months of November and December for each family to make sure we were even.
First we would send the "PROPOSED" schedule to Dick who always turned over approval of the schedule to his wife(Elle's step-mom). We started with them because they were always the most difficult to come to an agreement. Every year, without fail, Malus would tell me at great length how their family was always slighted and that we never fully appreciated them bending over backwards and out of fairness we MUST change this or that! Once we had their approval, we moved on to Greta. She wasn't difficult about the schedule, as long as the days during the holidays were evenly split, but she was just to busy to look at it. Around the 15th of December, Raylan would call and insist that she look at it so we could deal with any issues before the Holiday. Nine times out of 10 she gave her blessing.
The bottom line for us to spend the Holidays together meant agreement from both families so that the kids had similar schedules. The fact that year after year we were able to spend the majority of our Holiday time together was amazing!!!
Sooo this year the girls are both living with us full time. Elle doesn't have contact at present with her other family, Little Hart lives full-time with us and spends one evening a week at Greta's. So trading days and making everything even really isn't an issue this year for them. As for Jax, since he turned 17 he follows the 50/50 split, but when the schedule changes for the Holidays or a vacation, he spends it with the respective family and then goes back to his regular schedule. So this year out of all years means Peace on Earth in the Hartman House. Here's hoping whatever your situation is with your kids that your blended family can get together and enjoy each other. Merry Christmas everyone!