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This Year, Give Grace

“Grace? She passed 30 years ago.” – Aunt Bethany, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

If you’re like me, the Christmas season isn’t complete without National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. To those of you unfamiliar with the classic: Poor feeble Aunt Bethany is asked to say grace, to which she responds that Grace passed 30 years ago. Her husband barks “The blessing!” And Aunt Bethany then leads the table in the Pledge of Allegiance…

Slapstick aside, grace has a much bigger meaning in the context of family law and co-parenting. Grace is the act of forgiveness, of seeing our own humanity and recognizing it in everyone else and forgiving them for their mistakes. Did your ex’s adultery lead to your divorce five years ago? If you’re still harboring ill will towards him, while it may be justified, it is weighing you down. Forgive. Harboring that animosity is hurting your co-parenting relationship and it cannot be undone. There is little that can be done other than giving grace.

Grace is shown in how we interact with each other. It can be shown in words or actions. What a powerful sign of grace to give your child a framed photo of their other parent (your ex) to keep in their room at your house. Or to help that child with a Christmas present for their other parent. Or even just wishing your ex a Merry Christmas.

Grace is shown by letting go. Stop keeping the list of every time your ex has violated a provision of the Parenting Plan or has been five minutes late. Stop keeping score on every slight and wrong. Let it go.

This year, give the gift of grace. A little gift of grace this year will go a long way in making 2022 a happier new year and it definitely did not pass away 30 years ago!

David Purvis