My Surprise Christmas Gift

Dec 19, 13 My Surprise Christmas Gift

My ex-husband has been many different things to me over the corse of our relationship…best friend, lover, confidant, problem-solver, handy man, and more. Alth0ugh our personal relationship has changed, there is one thing he will never stop being, and that is the father to our two children. There are many reasons as to why our relationship did not work out, but every once in a while I am reminded why I was attracted to him in the first place- his caring nature.

I was recently reminded of this when my husband came to pick up our children for his time with them. Our children have had a difficult time dealing with the aftermath of the divorce (living apart, moving to a new home, finding new friends) and my ex-husband and I had discussed how to try and make this easier on them. Both of us are trying to work amicably to make this transition time easier, but we are unsure of the best route is to take considering this is uncharted territory.

Last Friday he came to pick up our kids for the weekend. He came in and the kids showed him all around their new home, taking special interest in pointing out the Christmas decorations. After the tour my ex-husband ran out to his car and came back inside with a few wrapped boxes in his hands.

He placed the boxes on the dining room table (which the kids and I had now gathered around). He gave my son and daughter a box and told them to open it. After the kids frantically unwrapped the gift they found a new tablet inside. He explained to the kids that just because he lived further away didn’t mean that he wasn’t available to see and talk to them. Now obviously this gift was intended towards my son (he just turned 9), but it will be great for my daughter too because she can send pictures that she draws and can have video chats with her father. This genuine caring and compassionate act reminded me why I had fallen for my ex in the first place.

After he had shown the kids the various features of the tablet and they were busy playing with it, he turned to me. He said, “Kate, we never expected things to turn out like this. I still love you as a friend and my children’s mother. I want us to continue to make an effort for our children to leave our own personal baggage behind and to move forward.”  I was so touched, there have been many instances in which I was so full of rage, hurt, and disappointment that I swore I never wanted to see my ex-husband again. He then pulled another box from across the table and encouraged me to open it. My own surprise Christmas gift. Inside I found a wooden jewelry box that my father had carved for me when I was a teenager that had been lost in storage. There was also some sentimental items including family photos, decorations and other items that I had a strong attachment to. At the bottom of the box there was a brand new digital camera.  I started with the you shouldn’t haves… he interrupted and explained that the camera came with strings. “Could you please send me some of the pictures you take of the kids so I don’t feel like I am missing a thing?” He requested. “Of corse,” I stated, breathing a heavy sigh of relief knowing that everything in the future would be okay.

My ex-husband’s unexpected thoughtful gesture opened my eyes to how relationships go through many different stages, and are continually growing, changing, and morphing. Although I never thought my marriage would end in divorce, it did. There is nothing I can do about that now except try to be a great co-parent with my ex-husband. Some things I can control including the relationship I have with my ex-husband. Why hold onto anger, hurt, and hate? My surprise Christmas gift showed me that although my relationship with my ex-husband is complex – there is hurt, there is sadness, there is also a lot of love and an ever-changing future ahead. This unexpected and thoughtful act has helped to set the tone for our first Christmas apart, we still have love for each other, just a different kind of love.

I would like to show my ex-husband an act of kindness as well, and am just waiting to think of an appropriate gift. What surprising and unexpected Christmas gifts have you received?

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