12/06/2013 01:48 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2014

Divorce Brings New Holiday Traditions

So this Thanksgiving was kind of weird. My ex husband decided to start a new tradition, whereby each child has to bring a dish. Wow. Couldn't he have started that like 10 years ago, when I was cooking dinner for 20? I guess better late than never. However, considering my daughter from New York was staying with me for the holiday and my other daughter has never turned on a stove, I think we all know what that means: I am making food for the new wife's husband and guests, which happen to include my children. She has the house and the husband, I guess she can have a plate of my Cauliflower au Gratin as well.

I went to the grocery store with a dish in mind. Then I found myself asking,"I wonder what she likes? Not everyone likes cauliflower smothered in cheese sauce. Maybe she would like to have a sweet potato pie? But what if she makes a sweet potato pie and feels I am trying to compete?" As you can see, it was quite a quandary.

The fact that this was causing me stress, when I already have my own Thanksgiving ordeal to deal with did not escape me and I began to wonder why. Why should I care what I send over there? My kids would be happy handing her a can of creamed corn and calling it a day. I realized it was because like it or not she is part of my children's life and I wanted her to share in their Thanksgiving favorites. Plus, let's face it, my sweet potato pie will blow hers right off the table.

Once I decided on a dish, I began to fret about which dish to send it in. What type of decor is she using. Is she modern, should I send my cool Jonathan Adler plate or is she more traditional? Does she like color, perhaps my gold Fiesta Ware platter? What, what, what? I ended up sending over a pie in the same pie plate I have used the last 25 Thanksgivings. My favorite pie plate. Three of my kids weren't even born the first time I used it. Now it was sitting on the table of their father's new wife and you know what? I felt really good about it. I sent the pie with happy memories, hoping there would be more in the making, even if I wasn't there to see them.

What I wasn't happy about? The kids told me "Dad brined his turkey. It was awesome." WTF? I was married to "dad" for 27 years. I saw him make fried bologna once and that was only because I had a 24 hour stomach bug and could not move off of the floor. Now not only is he cooking turkey, he's brining?

Whatever. The main thing is the kids had a good time and my pie plate was returned clean as a whistle. (She even got that piece of burned on crust that's been there for years.) I realized that although divorce is considered an ending of sorts, it also is a beginning of new memories and new traditions, and above all a great reason to show off my sweet potato pie.