WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 149 of 195

given the role of meeting the emotional needs of the parent. Asking a child to fill a parent's void is unfair— and potentially destructive. "Sometimes I think that it's the parents who are more worried about change than kids," she adds. "Kids are very good at getting used to changes. As long as they have a bedrock of love and aren't forced to choose sides, they can be incredibly resilient." And that same resilience usually winds up extending to parents, too. In one form or another, it often comes with the realization that embrac- ing change is the fundamental nature of simply being a family. "We put so much pressure to be as happy as possible and all together on this one holiday, but that just can't happen every year," says LaMee. "After a little while I saw my own parents watch their grown kids not be able to make it. And one year one of my older kids wanted to spend it with their spouse's family. Divorce happens, but it's just one of the ways that families evolve." Johnson echoes that learned perspective. Those joyfully dressed-up holiday windows that used to magnify her loneliness are now, years later, more a window into something else for her. "Who knows what's going on inside the houses?" she says. "Families go through all kinds of hurt and loss. The holidays make us think we need to be perfectly happy, but real life never is. Once you get past that first year and realize there's no such thing as perfection, it gets so much easier," she says. Exponentially easier, I'm here to testify. Embracing change in good time showed my kids it was okay to do the same. The next Christmas, we started a new tradition: reviving my Danish grandmother's craft of intricately cut paper snowflakes, caught on video so that in the follow- ing years we'd never forget how to create them — or the goofy laughs we had making them. And then eventually in the years that followed, we embraced even more change, morphing from a family of three in which I shared cus- tody of my two grammar school-aged kids, into a blended family of six. Every Christmas we've all had together has been glorious, with all of us under one roof (for at least most of the day): my two biological kids, my two stepkids, and their dad — the guy I fell in love with and married. But here's the rub: This year my stepson will graduate from high school. My stepdaughter is halfway through college. By all rights, that means we're not just sharing custody of our little kids with my ex, we're sharing custody of our much bigger kids with the universe at large. And soon enough, the little kids will follow that same natural path. Our days all under one roof are numbered. If the first Christmas after my divorce taught me to embrace change, it also prepared me to embrace the flip side of that change: When we manage to get lucky enough to wind up under the same roof, we revel in it, and don't let a moment of it go by without appreciating it. K I D S T O C K / M N P H O T O S T U D I O S / B L E N D I M A G E S L L C "Embracing change in good time showed my kids it was okay to do the same. " – A l e x a n d r a H a l l 148 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8 family matters "families evolve"

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