I totally understand how divorced parents feel when they have to "divide up time" with kids for the holidays.
Sweets typically stays with me almost every day she is not in school. Well, her dad decided he wanted her to come back to his house last night. No problem; I drove 80 miles round trip to take her home. Today I was to pick her up from a visit he had scheduled with Lil Sis (I think he wanted Sweets there so he didn't have to entertain at the visit). Well, he showed up late and missed the visit. Oh well, at least he was on my side of town, and it was a lot closer for me to pick up Sweets.
Now he wants Sweets to be with him on Christmas morning. I think he actually bought her a Christmas present for the first time in four Christmases since she has lived with him. Fine, but that messes with my family's Christmas schedule. Sweets whispers to me, "I really want to stay with you, but I don't want to hurt my dad's feelings." So sweet, and so sad for an eight year old.
After some negotiating, Sweets will stay with me through an early dinner with my parents on Christmas Eve. Around 5pm I will meet her dad "somewhere in the middle" and she will have to miss going to the Christmas Eve church service. Then I will drive to his house Christmas morning and pick her up about 9am. That should work, because we usually don't start much (except gifts from Santa) until after brunch, which is set for about 10am after extended family gets here. I told Sweets we would wait before we passed out gifts.
I do want Sweets to have a good relationship with her dad, but it is annoying when it interferes with my plans. I have to stay focused on what is really important: yes - their relationship; no - my schedule. Thank you, God, for keeping my heart where it belongs.