Last night I almost cried while sitting on the couch watching my amazing 5-year-old play with her toys. I’ve been really emotional the past week or so, which I think is in part due to not feeling well but also in part because of some unexpected feelings about the upcoming holiday.

I’ve been officially divorced for over a year and a half, even though the marriage was over for a while before that. The first holiday I spent without my daughter was Thanksgiving last year but I was only mildly emotional because a close friend of mine basically made me come over to enjoy the day with her lovely family. And it was awesome and yummy and I am forever grateful for her generosity in taking me in.

This year it’s my turn to be childless on Christmas. I really thought I would be OK. I even told my co-workers not that long ago when I heard a collective “awwww” after telling them about my upcoming solo holiday, that I was strangely looking forward to it because I rarely get alone time.

And then all of a sudden, there I was, sitting on the couch enjoying my night with my girl and I felt the sadness creeping in. I won’t get to see her wake up Christmas morning, excited to open her gifts. I keep thinking about why this is even upsetting me to the level that it is because I’m not even Christian, I’m Buddhist. But I grew up in a household that made a big deal out of Christmas morning. I have such fond memories of waiting at the top of the stairs with my siblings until my parents said we could go down and see what was under the tree. My parents would make us a yummy breakfast and we’d play the day away with our new treasures.

This year it will be just me. My immediate family all live in Florida now (they moved down a few years ago from CT), so I will, quite literally, be alone. I’m fortunate to be in a loving relationship with someone, and he’s invited me to spend the day with his kids and family, and I know after reading this some of my friends will encourage me to spend the day with them too, but I just don’t think I’m going to be very good company.

I take comfort in knowing that eventually this will get better. I had a hard time on my solo weekends for a very long time, just missing my daughter the entire time and not feeling right until she was back home with me. But eventually, with routine and personal growth, I have grown to enjoy my solo weekends, and those weekends have given me the gift of getting to know a new love in my life.

I’m sending out a big, loving hug to any fellow parents that will be spending an upcoming holiday separated from your children. We’ll get through it, and we’ll be OK. Promise.