Our story is an open book ready to be shared with those who think they are at it alone.
The best celebrations are the ones you least expect and for that reason I've taken to celebrating on "off" days rather than the "real" ones. This might seem strange to some but to those accustomed to co-parenting you might understand the notion a bit better. Co-parenting struggles or not, I find that "off" days are more relaxed and so much more enjoyable, there's less stress, the ease of planning without a forced deadlines and, let's be honest, less expectations, which ALWAYS helps when it comes to big milestone occasions or holidays.
It all started when I was first separated and had to figure out an organization method to appease my entire family (holidays are especially pain in the ass-y) as well as my co-parent parameters for such occasions. After a couple of years full of stressful, hurried Christmas dinners and delayed or rushed Easter egg hunts, I decided it was all or nothing, either the kids would enjoy the holiday in its entirety with me or I'd simply have to concede the day. But then it dawned on me, there are certain days when the actual date doesn't matter all that much, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, even graduation celebrations. So began the tradition of non-traditional celebration days. If I didn't have the girls for Easter Sunday, we did a fish fry on Good Friday, if is it wasn't my scheduled Thanksgiving Thursday, we arranged a huge Sunday after Thanksgiving brunch, no time for grandfathers and stepdad on father's day, not a problem, we made it a whole other day in our family. Our tradition of non-tradition took form and the family was able to truly enjoy each other as the pressure was off in terms of which house who went where. By following my non-traditions my family would simply plan to go to their other commitments on days I didn't have my girls and made every effort to all be in attendance on the days that were mine. The only drawback, all the extra calories from, more often than not, celebrating each occasion more than once (like 3-4 birthday cakes per occasion kind of more than once).
When my Sophie's high school graduation was upon us, I was able to plan surprise celebration a whole two months AFTER her graduation and just in time for her dorm move-in without anyone finding it strange. We enjoyed her actual ceremony date at leisure without the stress of family time scheduling, we travelled for our mom/daughter grad trip tradition, sorted out what she needed for her dorm, created a registry and then I surprised her with a little "Taco 'bout a future" themed fiesta. No co-parenting time constraints, no deadlines, no conflicting work schedules, just fun and family. It was perfect!
Even though our entire family has "graduated" from the co-parenting constraints being that my two girls from my previous marriage are aged out of all that, we plan to continue the tradition as to facilitate everyone's needs and the sometimes demanding requirements of other families (in-laws, parents and such). So when we have our date to celebrate or commemorate, it is a time where we can kick back, soak in the occasion and truly enjoy each other's company without having to cut it short to get to someone else's house or feeling squeezed to get it all in in one day. We take the time to celebrate the times and give actual time the middle finger, taco 'bout a party every time. ;)
Multi-tasking over-thinker that is, as you can imagine, often running late.