If you are in the middle of divorce, even simple holidays are often agony.  But Labor Day, really?

No matter what holiday it is, after divorce it’s a challenge, especially those first holidays when all of your children (and maybe grandchildren) are with your ex-husband. Your friends all seem to be busy with their own families.

As you know, holidays can be, not just a challenge, but agony, pain, anguish and tears. One thing I hated most about divorce is that it makes every holiday unbelievably complicated.  What used to be a fun trip to the lake or a family visit to relatives in another state, suddenly is an ordeal of survival.

In the beginning, even holidays when the children are with you, are different.  Something is missing.  Traditions are upended. Don’t put any additional pressure on your children if they are with him.  They may not like it any more than you do, but they are trying to make this work for everyone, too. You be the big person.  You be the one they can count on to always want what’s best for them. You lead the way in finding ways to make these few days good, no matter what.

I don’t have an easy fix for the holidays.  I wish I did.   Whether you have family around or you don’t this holiday weekend, try to enjoy your time.  Do something completely different.  It’s okay that people know this transition is hard for you.  But let them see you or know you are doing something good and fun in spite of the situation you all face.  That will encourage everyone and teach positive spiritual lessons, no matter what.  Everyone will know you are proactively choosing good.  That’s a powerful life tool!

If you’re completely by yourself, use this time to get a project done that you have been putting off.  Clean the basement or garage. Get your flowerbeds ready for fall.  Go wander around your favorite bookstore.  Read that book you’ve wanted to read.  This morning I allowed myself a simple guilty pleasure that always reminds me of my mom and makes me feel good.  I ate fresh peaches, frosted flakes, half-and-half and hot, rich coffee.  Every bite was delicious. And I think about how she would want me to be facing this day.  She would want me to create some simple joys for myself.

If you’re new at this, it’s hard not to have some tears.  Remember, though, this will get easier.  Dig deep and realize you can do something that makes you feel better, or you can do stuff that makes you stay stuck in misery.  Find some simple joys. Find something good to do and something to celebrate.  Even if it’s a clean, organized garage or a delicious bowl of frosted flakes and peaches.

This holiday will be over in a few hours.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself because that does no good at all.  (I spent hours and days and weeks trying this … and it doesn’t work!!)  Use the rest of this day wisely.  Refresh yourself in some way so that you have new energy for whatever good things will come your way tomorrow.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do.”  Philippians 4:4, 5a (The Living Bible)  – Remember, Paul was writing this from a filthy, stinking, smelly prison cell.  That’should be an inspiration to us all today. “