You Have a 26% Chance of Finishing This Article

The oddsmaker and sports have gone hand in hand for over a century. The odds for a prize fighter to retain his title against an up and coming, spirited nobody. The chance or percentage of chance for a major college basketball powerhouse to win the NCAA tournament. The statistical probability for a baseball team to make the playoffs, who is yet to play a game in a particular season. Some person or computer or group is telling you, the fan, that your team has a 43% chance of making the playoffs or winning a game or securing a first round bye in a round robin tournament. It makes for great conversation, great for betting on sports, great for the media, great for marketing campaigns.

odds

In recent years, the oddsmakers have begun to infiltrate professional sports broadcasts of live games, tournaments, and events. With the St. Louis Cardinals down 5-1 in the 5th inning against the NY Mets, the banner at the bottom of the telecast reads “There is an 11% chance the Cardinals will win this game.” Or, during a golf tournament, Tiger Woods sizes up a 72 foot putt on the 17th hole and there is an insert on the bottom right of your TV screen that reads “Probability – 8%, based on current conditions.” How about during a sports broadcast with a panel of former Major League ball players, managers, and executives that are discussing the fact that the Boston Red Sox have a 33% chance of winning the American League East, albeit in December nearly 3 months before the season starts?If I were to take examples simply from New England sports over the past 3 decades, I could write 100 articles or more about teams beating the odds. Teams that had no shot, the statistics against them, the odds clearly not in their favor who overcame adversity to win despite what others thought. Improbable wins in the last minute, even seconds, of a game. Teams that created the type of outgoing, enthusiastic, loyal fan bases that New England sports is known for. What if those fans listened to the statistics and shut their TV’s off during a game because some stat read “New England has a 3% chance of winning the Super Bowl.”

probable

Are you kidding me? That’s not what real fans do!!! They watch in agony, waiting for a fumble or an error or a lucky bounce or a missed shot by the opponent or an interception. They watch in the stands, holding hands with the person next to them, whether they know them or not. They watch with a heightened sense of anticipation that someway, somehow their team, their beloved home team will find a way, a miracle, anything to get a score, get an out, get a save to turn the tides of the game. Real fans don’t care about 3% or 23% or 80% or any percent!!! They watch and cheer and scream and yell and encourage their team to victory. And yes, in defeat.

walk off

And what are the oddsmakers of the world thinking by including these ridiculous statistics during live telecasts of these games? Would you like us, the fans, to shut our TV’s off, pack up our things and leave the stadium, leave the golf tournament’s most exciting holes, just because our team, our favorite player, our heroes have a less than 50% chance of success. Do you think advertisers would approve of your methods if 95% of the viewing audience of a Super Bowl decided to check out at halftime because the statistician posted a banner that read “New England has a 3% chance of winning this game, not much more to see in the second half for you Pats fans, I’m afraid.” How would the food vendors feel at a packed stadium if they announced, over the loudspeaker, in the 5th inning of a Tuesday night game between the Cardinals and the Mets “Hey everybody, the Cardinals have an 11% chance of winning, have a nice night everyone, this one is just about over.” Or, the sponsors of a major golf tournament, whose marquis player is lining up a historic 72 foot putt, and then watches fans leave the 17th hole because the leader board graphics department posts “Based on conditions, Tiger will most likely miss this putt so you want to get over to the 18th hole, as limited space is available.”

long putt

I don’t mind the odds or oddsmakers in their traditional roles. This team is a 5-1 to win this league or this fighter is a 10-1 against the champion or this university is a 2-1 favorite or this horse is a 20-1 long shot. Odds, betting, and sports have a long and rich history. You need odds to determine how much money you can make on a particular bet. I get all that.

What bothers me as a fan is this new wave of statistics during games, tournaments, matches, events that is simply unnecessary. They don’t play the game on paper, the players don’t win golf tournaments based on the statistical odds of one winning or not, teams win championships on the field. For every statistic I see about 11% chance of winning or 8% chance of making this putt, there are hundreds of examples of players, teams, and colleges who bested those percentages. And that is what being a fan is all about. Watching in horror as your team was just intercepted on the 1 yard line, when your team had a 99% chance of winning the game. A reliever with a 95% strikeout ratio to right handed batters that gives up a grand slam in extra innings. A golfer makes a 72 foot putt with little or no percent chance, based on current conditions. It is why the real fan watches. We want to believe, we want to witness something incredible.
If you listen to the odds, the percentages, the statistics, are you really a true fan? If you leave, if you turn your TV off, if you switch channels on your radio, are you going to buy into the statistics and call yourself a real sports fan? My opinion is NO!!!

P.S. Did you beat the odds and finish this article? Let me know your thoughts.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers Have Put Themselves On The Doorstep of Boston Sports History

In the first two games of 2017 Eastern Conference finals of the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have completely dominated and downright humiliated the Boston Celtics.  The Cavaliers took both games at the Boston Garden by 13 and 44 points, respectively, to take a commanding lead going back to Cleveland.  To make matters seem even more dire for Celtics fans, Boston point guard and fan favorite Isaiah Thomas will be out for the remainder of the playoffs with a lower body injury.  Down 2-0, without arguably their best player, and now heading on the road for two crucial games which may in fact decide their fate in this year’s playoffs.  But, I say, the Cavaliers should be scared of what is looming at their doorstep – a historical moment in Boston Celtics history.

The Boston Sports history book is filled with championships, heartbreaking defeats, memorable photos which are embedded into the hearts and souls of us Boston fans.  We have seen defeat from bitter rivals like the Canadiens, the Yankees, and the Giants.  We have been one out or even one strike away from a World Series, only to lose in 7 games to the Mets.  Even players who once donned our jerseys had the nerve to hit home runs over a green monster or hit a winning shot to seal a victory or catch a much needed pass for a first down.  And then, there are the historical moments which we tell our children, who will then tell their children.  The historical moments of the comebacks when no one, no sports writer, no television analyst, no one on the planet other than the Boston sports fan believed we could do it.  And then it happened.

A stolen base in Game 4 with our backs to the wall against the best closer and possibly one of the top 10 pitchers of all time.  That small crack in the mighty armor of the Yankees propelled a previously underachieving bunch to one victory, then another, then another, and then the final victory of the series.  Down 3-0 with almost nothing left in the tank, the Boston Red Sox gathered what they could, Dave Roberts stole a base, and the Red Sox came storming back to create history.  Are you paying attention Cavaliers?

BOSTON, MA – MAY 13: Patrice Bergeron #37 and Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins celebrate following Bergeron’s game-winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 13, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

In 2013, with the score 4-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Toronto, The Boston Bruins were less than a period away from defeat.  4-1 in the third period of a hockey game typically spells defeat and the odds were stacked against Boston.  Having lost Games 5 and 6 to Toronto, momentum had completely shifted to Toronto.  With the strength of solid goaltending down the stretch, key goals from stars like Patrice Bergeron, and the will of the Boston sports fans at the Garden, the Boston Bruins made sports history with an improbable comeback to seal their place in Boston Sports history.  Determination, never quit attitude, never make excuses – that defines the Bruins comeback win.  And Cavaliers, guess who else has that playing style?

TOPSHOT – James White #28 of the New England Patriots scores the game winning touchdown in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

And in recent memory, I recall a certain team that was down by an insurmountable numbers of points in the final game of their season.  Three to four touchdowns behind at half time.  The Atlanta Falcons had begun making calls to locals in Atlanta to get their parade route set.  The owner and his wife left their comfortable suite to join the Falcons on the sideline.  It was a glorious time to be an Atlanta Falcon, victory was all but assured.  There was no way that the New England Patriots were going to make a comeback.  This was a lead that was solid.  All they had to do was show up and play 30 minutes and the victory was in the bag.  That memo did not make it to the New England Patriots, their coaches, nor the sports fans of Boston.  For New England went out in the second half and completely steamrolled the lifeless, hapless, emotionless Falcons all the way to the most incredible comeback Super Bowl and sports history.  That’s right, the most incredible feeling poured over New England as running back James White pushed his way into the end zone to seal the victory in overtime for the Patriots.  And, the Patriots were down one of their best players for the game.  In the end, the team won and Boston had yet another moment in sports history to add to their storied book of accomplishments.  Down a man, like the Celtics are now, but found a way to win.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have all but sealed their fate with this 2-0 lead in the finals.  By most fans, writers, broadcasters, and basketball minds, the series is over and the Cavaliers are headed to another NBA finals.  But, I say, not so fast.  Boston has history on its side with comebacks from 3 out of 4 of the big dogs – The Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox.  Now, in 2017, it is time to write another page in the incredible history of Boston sports. Can you imagine if Cleveland were to lose now, having been up 2-0 in dominant fashion.  Against a team that just found out that its top scorer will not play again this season?  With all those stars – James, Irving, Love, Smith – for that team to lose now would be one of the biggest losses in NBA history.  All of the pressure is on the Cavaliers going forward in this season.  If they win, by most opinions, they were supposed to win.  But, if they lose, wow that would surely be looked at as one of the biggest disappointments.  No pressure on the Boston Celtics whatsoever.  And when you play stress free and worry free basketball, and just have fun out there, what ever happens will happen.  Including a monumental comeback for the ages.  Go Celtics.

When NBA Stars Decide to Rest, The Fans Lose Big Time

The Boston Celtics lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers this past week 114-91.  LeBron James played 38 minutes and score 36 points, grabbed nearly 10 rebounds and had 6 assists.  Another great performance by one of this generation’s most outstanding players.  I didn’t attend that game, nor will I pay to go see another NBA game for the foreseeable future.  And here is my reasoning:

A management or coach’s decision to rest a certain player during a regular season game in 2014, which I paid full price for, has left a bad taste in my mouth and an empty hole in my wallet.   This game happened on March 19, 2014.  But, let’s go back 5 months prior to the game when I purchased seven tickets, yes seven tickets for myself, Rachel, her two sons, and my three sons to go an NBA game.  And not just any NBA game, a Boston Celtics vs the Miami Heat NBA game.  The Miami Heat who had a lineup featuring one LeBron James.  A lot of work and money went into those tickets, which were a Christmas present to the boys, Rachel, and myself.  Schedules needed to be coordinated, work commitments had to be adjusted, and then of course, there is the hundreds of dollars spent on those tickets.  But, I was happy to purchase them and to get the opportunity to watch one of this generation’s best players in his prime.

Driving up to Boston, I was so excited for me and the boys and Rachel to experience this.  An NBA game at the Boston Garden, even though the Celtics were completely out of the playoff picture.  It was still certain to be a memorable night.  Especially since the boys were wearing Miami Heat hats, jerseys, and were basically going to see LeBron James and 9 other guys on the court.  The anticipation grew and grew as we drove through the city of Boston to the TD Bank Boston Garden.  And then, an ESPN alert popped up on one of the boy’s phones.  “LeBron James to sit tonight due to back spasms.”

The 7 of us had literally just parked and exited my Tahoe when the ding on my son’s phone went off.  I made him read it aloud again, thinking there must be some mistake.  He read the exact same line “LeBron James to sit tonight due to back spasms.”  Here is a player who just the previous night had played 41 minutes against his former team, the Cleveland Cavs, and had scored 43 points.  In doing some research, I found that James played two nights after the Celtics game, March 21.  In that game, he played 38 minutes and nearly recorded a triple double (more than 10 points, rebounds, and assists.)  Needless to say, I was completely deflated in that parking lot, just across the street from the Boston Garden.  The decision was made that James would rest this meaningless contest vs the last place Boston Celtics.  “They can try to spin it all they want”, I said, “he was pulled to rest up for the playoffs.”

The 7 of us had traveled from RI, a nearly 1 1/2 hour drive in rush hour traffic.  Two kids at one school, one at another, two at yet another school.  The other parents (or exes as we divorcees call them) being flexible with their schedules to allow the 7 of us to go to the game.  Hundreds of dollars spent on halfway decent seats with more budgeted into the night’s food and souvenir requests.  All of this now just seemed like such a wasted effort.  The player, for whom those tickets were purchased to watch play live in front of us, had decided or was told by management or his coach that he would rest that game.  A meaningless game to the juggernaut Miami Heat against the hapless cellar dweller Boston Celtics.  The decision to rest the player was announced less than one hour before game time.  Probably so people would be at or nearly at the game when they found out, reducing the chance that they would abandon going to the game based on LeBron James not playing.  The boys and Rachel took it very well.  I was furious beyond imagine. I was disappointed, I’m not going to lie.  After a few minutes of catching my breathe, we all got a bite to eat and heading to the game.

As the game progressed, I found myself cheering louder and louder for my Boston Celtics.  For the first quarter, I stared angrily at the Heat bench where LeBron James was sitting, in nice suit and tie as opposed to his game uniform .  With each Boston Celtic’s basket and rebound and assist, I yelled and laughed and turned my anger into pure joy.  My lowly Boston Celtics were leading most of the game and I found it utterly entertaining that they would score a victory against the Miami Heat.  I started to imagine that maybe this victory by the Celtics could be a starting point for something they could build on for the future.  In the end, the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat that night by a score of 101 – 96.  Ironically, 3 years later, the Boston Celtics are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

I can’t imagine the toll 82 games, travelling from coast to coast, the stress of playing and performing takes on an NBA player, let alone a mega star like LeBron James.  To play at such a high level for some many games, seasons is why James is our generation’s greatest player.  And that is the reason why when James travels to Charlotte or Dallas or Oakland or Boston, fans pay good money to go and watch him, even though he plays for the opposing team.  This is the exact reason why I bought those 7 tickets, so myself, Rachel and the boys could go see LeBron James play basketball.   I don’t buy the “back spasms” excuse, he was told to rest and sit out a meaningless game against a meaningless opponent.  And my take is, for us, in our section of 7 seats, it wasn’t a meaningless game.  It meant something for us to attend that game.  We went there for a purpose and that was taken away from us, without a second thought.  And this is why, without a second thought, I will never pay to go see another NBA game, no matter who is playing for the Celtics or against them.

The North Kingstown Blog Endorses the Shark Rotator True Pet Vacuum

Here at the North Kingstown Blog, we hesitate to put our name on any product unless we truly stand behind it.  We have interviewed hundreds of local and RI businesses who offer a wide range of products and services.  From health and beauty products to fitness equipment to hair and makeup, The North Kingstown Blog is committed to promoting quality products and services that will make your day a positive one.

Vacuum cleaners have evolved like most household appliances over the years.  I cut my teeth as a youth with your standard Electrolux, a little powerhouse on wheels that had a retractable cord that was quite dangerous if you didn’t pay attention when it recoiled.  It certainly did the job and had many nozzle attachments for the stairs, corners, carpets, and wooden floors of my mother’s 10 room home.  Of all the chores growing up, I would say vacuuming the house was one of the more enjoyable.  I especially like to vacuum after the Christmas tree was removed and loved the sound of the pine needles being scooped up.

Fast forward to my own house and its cast of messy characters – my kids, my dogs, and the messiest of the bunch, yours truly.  In this house, Rachel and I need a powerful asset to help keep the house clean and presentable.  And that asset is the Shark Rotator Power Lift True Pet Vacuum.  This vacuum is on a whole other level of ease of use, performance, and reliability when it comes to vacuums.  It has a lightweight design with rotator wheels that glide easily on a hardwood floor.  Going from hardwood to carpet is a cinch, just push the controls to the carpet setting and you are seamlessly changing your cleaning surface.

Want to avoid cleaning under the bureaus, tables, and bookcases guys?  Because you have to move things right?  Well, with the Shark Rotator Power Lift True Pet Vacuum, it is no extra effort.  Trust me, I was the worst offender when it came to moving things while vacuuming.  All you do with the Shark is just lift away the dirt container and the vacuum’s sleek design does the rest.  So get under those bookshelves, go for the bread crumbs you swipe off the counter next to the stove, even over by your turntable!!!  All those places will now get cleaned with this wonder of the cleaning world.

The Shark Rotator Power Lift True Pet Vacuum is ideal for pets and those with allergies.  It has anti-allergen complete seal technology, plus HEPA / Washable Filters.  The front lights make it easy to spot dirt, dog hair, last night’s sleepover chips, last week’s sleepover chips, last month’s forgotten dirt under those tough to see areas (tough to see because we didn’t move items out of the way).  The lift away container for the dirt opens and closes with ease.  Everything is marked and that makes it even more enjoyable to use.  The power cord is long enough to allow for at least two rooms of cleaning without that annoying unplugging, plugging back in nonsense.  Those “nonsenses” disrupt and frustrate vacuum sessions.

The Shark Rotator Power Lift True Pet Vacuum is an awesome cleaning machine.  Couches, stairs, hardwood, mats that the dogs lay on all day, the front of the fireplace, the kitchen underneath the island – these areas are no match for the Shark.  The Shark pushes through with flying colors and gets the house really clean.  It is lightweight, easy to use and operate, has a cool headlight, and makes cleaning an absolutely wicked fun time.  I highly recommend The Shark Rotator Power Lift True Pet Vacuum and use it with a big smile on my face.

If you would like a product reviewed by the North Kingstown Blog, send me an email at thenkmarketing@gmail.com with the item/product/service and a brief description.

Hidden Figures – A Must See Biopic on the American Dream

The challenge every biopic film has is mixing fact with Hollywood’s influence.  A biopic film is based on actual events, recent or historical, which give depth to the story through interesting dialogue and sometimes sensationalism of these events.  It is the filmmaker’s task to educate the audience, whether they were alive during the events or not, as well as entertain the audience.  Otherwise, it feels more like a movie you watch in high school for your US or World History class.  And if I can recall, those were certainly educational but not too entertaining.

I have watched a number of racially charged biopics over the years.  Some of these movies have racial tones embedded in the movie but the main characters are not the ones being discriminated against.  Others follow the life of a person or persons that, despite the odds, were able to overcome racism and make a positive difference in the lives of others.  Admittedly, some of the dialogue is tough to bear due to the extremely disgusting way some human beings treated others, all because of race.  These movies depict life in American before most of the modern conveniences and principles and social justices I have become accustomed to.  The best movie I have seen to date that exemplifies this is Hidden Figures.

Hidden Figures is a biopic film about three extraordinary women – Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughn – who were employees of NASA during the 1960’s.  The film’s title reveals part of the film’s theme.  To expand on that thought, “hidden” refers to the segregation of NASA’s work environment which featured colored computer offices, colored bathrooms in only certain buildings on a massive campus, and a general sense of one race being superior to another.  These three women, forever to be known as vital to the space program, were continually kept in the shadows of their white peers, unrecognized for their work, and discriminated against to an alarming degree.  Their minds were far superior to their peers and their supervisors.  It was their work – Mary, Dorothy, Katherine – that helped the United States become a world leader in the space program.  And because they were women and black, they had to endure not only their daily responsibilities but also the extreme measures of sexism and racism which their employer cast on them.

Each woman in the story had the drive and personality to succeed.  It was an interesting side story that, certainly in the beginning, even the men in their lives were not supportive or encouraging to an extent.  Whether it was an oversight or snide remark or simply just a “You can’t do that, you are black” comment by the men in their lives, it added just another layer and barrier these incredible women had to overcome.  These women – Mary, Katherine, and Dorothy – simply would not be denied.  They fought supervisors for respect.  They put up with racist policies and stares and disgusting comments.  They even fought in court to overturn the segregated laws of Virginia, just to be allowed to take a class, to educate themselves so they could have a brighter future.  And they achieved their success by looking within themselves and realizing how smart, important, gifted, and talented they were, no matter what society had told them otherwise.

I was proud as an American to watch the events of the film carry out with a positive result.  Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Johnson thank you for your dedication, for your tenacity, for your heart, and your courage to overcome so many obstacles.  Your drive and spirit should be trumpeted in the history books and I congratulate the filmmakers who got this right.  It was educational and entertaining and uplifting.  I was saddened as an American that this type of discrimination prevented the talents and minds of these women and their co-workers from realizing their potential from the start of their employment.  That our society was so mean and chose to put up so many roadblocks to success for another human being.  It might be hard to swallow for some, that this type of racism existed in our lifetimes, but it did.  And Hidden Figures did a phenomenal job of telling that story and the story of three women who not only hurdled roadblocks, they smashed them completely in their proud path to history.

My New Year’s Resolution – Learn How To Make A Difference Every Day

I was driving to work recently and thinking that I had a pretty full day ahead.  It was a cold, frosty morning on Old Baptist Road and I had my coffee and breakfast with me in the car.  I wasn’t speeding but my urgency to get to work was definitely heightened.  After all, it is vacation week and my kids would be home and of course, I wanted to be with them as opposed to working.  About halfway to work, I spotted a squirrel crossing the road in front of me.  I paused, braked and allowed the squirrel to get to its destination on the other side.  A pause that allowed me to take a moment and value another living being’s life.  It was a very small but significant good deed I did.

squirrel

A short time later, I came upon a traffic light and a very politically driven vehicle with some rather expressive bumper stickers.  This vehicle’s owner was not a big fan of politicians, based on the graphic wording on the stickers.  I have a fairly good idea who this person voted for based on some choice wording.  In addition to the political stickers, the car was adorned with stickers relating to hunting or guns or gun control laws. And the topper was a bumper sticker that read and I will never forget this, “If it is Brown, it’s goin’ down.  If it Flies, it dies.”  Depicted on the sticker were a deer and a duck, of which the sticker (I assume) were referring to.  I thought back for a moment about my encounter with the squirrel on Old Baptist Road.

And that got me thinking about what I could do, myself, in 2017.  The reality is I paused to let a squirrel pass the road, but others may not have.  I stopped and thought that the life of another living thing was important, while others may take a far different approach.  And so to expand on that thought, I need to continue to pause in my business life or personal life to allow something a positive moment to happen.  And understand and acknowledge and live with the fact that others may not.  But ultimately, be comfortable with my personal choice to make a positive difference.  My resolution for 2017 is this – How can I make a positive difference in my life happen every day?  And to be strong and energetic about choices and decisions I have made.  And to build on those positive changes. And encourage others to make positive choices that affect other living beings – namely their friends, family, co-workers, neighbors.  If everyone would pause once in their day, just once, to make a positive change in someone’s life – whether it be theirs or another beings – that is a start.

Happy New Year everyone.  Take a pause everyday and be thankful for what you have.  Everyone is busy so we can throw that excuse over the side of the boat.  Make a positive difference in your life and see how that good energy spreads.  May it be the best year of your life.

Have A Great Christmas Day Kids, See You on Tuesday

The holiday season brings so many emotions to the surface.  Being a parent, those emotions include not only your own childhood experiences, but those of your children – no matter what age they are.  The thrill of gift giving and brightening the day of your child is a priceless memory that will last a lifetime.  Sitting down with friends and family to enjoy a holiday meal, laugh at old times, and just be merry is what pushes some of us through hard times.  And, there is the harsh reality of the divorced parent with children – the often dreaded holiday custody schedule.

Sorry for the holiday buzzkill but this is the reality for families of divorce with children.  For years, my children have spent one part of the holiday season with me and the other with my ex-wife.  It is, of course, a fair arrangement which we both agreed upon – morally and legally.  My boys get to spend time with both of their parents, their parent’s extended families, and thus get to share in the spirit of the holidays with everyone in their family circle.  To be honest, the schedule has become a fabric of our existence.  One that does not cause any stress or anxiety about the holidays for them.  My boys simply remember that today you are going to Mom’s and tomorrow you will be with Dad.  And the next year, the reverse schedule will be in effect.  For this, I am grateful that this schedule does not cause their holiday spirit to dwindle one bit.  But for the parent, it is at times a devastating emotional time of the year.

xmas2

I’m not sure if there is an article or seminar or YouTube video that could describe these emotions and feelings to anyone other than a divorced parent.  In my family, I am proud to say I have a brother and sister who got married, had children, and remain married to their spouses.  They have wonderful families with a lot of love, support, and respect for each other.  When they go on vacation, they go as a family – Mom, Dad, kids.  When they go to church or to a holiday party, the family goes.  When they wake up Christmas morning, they are waking up together, every year, every present is opened together in the same house.  Nothing about “well I have to get you to Mom’s at 10” or “let’s wait until the kids get here at noon to open all the gifts.”  Nope, they are together and the day goes on like it should.  Not so for the divorced parent.

The reality is sometimes you have to wait.  Wait your turn.  Wait until your time arrives.  Put your excitement about your child opening a gift you purchased with so much joy back in November on hold.  Walk down the stairs, into your holiday decorated house, turn on the Christmas lights, revel at all of the Christmas presents and memories to be made, and then stare at a quiet, empty room. Your turn will come later today, you say to yourself.  You take a deep breath.  This is the reality for some on Christmas morning.

xmas1

And then you have the Christmas parties.  The family get-together at your aunt or sister or grandparent’s home.  Everyone is there waiting to see cousins they haven’t seen or catch up with an aunt or uncle.  And you arrive without your kids, why?  Well, they go to their Mom’s on Christmas day so they are not here.  And the faces and the retreats of emotion and the confusion at times by the other people in the party is absolutely palpable to you, the divorced parent.  How can this be?  He has kids, but they are not with him?  The explanation of the holiday custody schedule is humbling to say the least. But, you say it with a smile and try to move on.

My Uncle Johnny just emailed me something that I will be taking to heart this year and every day going forward “Your boys are really growing up fast.  Keep watching as they will be gone before you know it.”  Yes, I have a holiday schedule.  Yes, I miss out on some parts of the Christmas experience.  Yes, I need to wait my turn for the clock to read “My Time” or “My Day” during the holiday season. Yes, this is my life as a divorced parent with children.   But the truth is this is what is in the best interest of my children.  Spending the holidays with their mother, myself, my extended family, her extended family.  Sharing the blessings I have whose names are Spencer, Griffin, and Harrison is quite possibly the best gift I could ever give my family.

xmas4

So, this year, instead of becoming emotionally consumed by the custody holiday schedule, I am just going to feel blessed that my children are happy, healthy, and safe.  I will take that walk down the stairs, into my ornately decorated living room, I will flick on the Christmas lights and stare at the wrapped gifts under the tree.  I will take a deep breath and enjoy a memory or two from Christmas past.  And soon, my time will come and my blessings will be with me.  After all, no matter what time they arrive, my children are always with me and I am always with them.