Ok, so Christmastime started after Thanksgiving, or for those of you keeping track at your local department stores, before Halloween even arrived. [And a sidenote, seriously, today in a local Rite Aid, they had VALENTINE’S DAY STUFF OUT ALREADY!!! Seriously? – But I digress, and will save this rant for another posting.] But, it’s Christmas Eve Eve, and I plan on being busy the next couple of days for the holiday, so I wanted to write a little something tonight.
This will be my first Christmas, in four years, without my husband to celebrate with me. I am sad. I am jealous of the couples that DO get to celebrate together (New Years Eve will be another holiday for me to overcome celebrating sans my husband.) I am glad to be able to celebrate it with family and close ones, and not completely alone, which would have been a possibility had I remained on Post. And I am glad that work is keeping me preoccupied, so I don’t have to sit home all day and think about this holiday and where my husband is, and where he is NOT…home.
So, this is what Christmas used to be, for me…
Christmas Eve, my parents, aunts and uncles, and cousins on my mom’s side would all go over to my Mimi’s (grandmother) for Christmas. We would have a nice dinner, or just a bunch of help-yourself-hor d’oeuvres, and then we would all open our presents to/from each other, which was mostly all about us kids. Some years, my parents and I would leave from there late and go to midnight mass at “our” church. (I say “our” with the quotes, because as a kid, it was what I was told to do, and have since chosen other religious pathways and beliefs and such). After, it was time to go home and go to bed so Santa could bring presents. Christmas Day, of course, I would come downstairs excited to see what Santa brought – until I knew better – and it was spent with family watching Christmas movies, playing games, and just enjoying a day together.
Christmas has changed over the years, but it’s always been a day about family. On Christmas Eve, after my Mimi passed away, my mom hosted her Christmas Party for a few years. Otherwise, it was held usually the weekend leading up to Christmas. We would invite our family and friends over for a few hours, and have hor d’oeuvres, play games, and just enjoy each others company. Then the parties have slowly stopped, although my parents may plan another one in the coming years. My husband’s family has not been huge on Christmas since he and his brother grew up, so we would do something with them either Christmas Eve or beforehand, and Christmas Day was spent with my parents.
Last year, because we never know what the weather will bring for traveling, we celebrated Christmas as “Thankstmas,” and combined Thanksgiving and Christmas together into Thanksgiving weekend. (I know, probably a given with a name like “Thankstmas,” right?) So, we enjoyed homemade lobster stew as our Thanksgiving Meal, and opened presents altogether in our apartment, as everyone traveled to see us. It was really nice.
And, this year, is completely different.
I went shopping with my mother-in-law as my Christmas present this year from my in-laws. It was a lot of fun, and it was really nice to spend that time with them. My parents and I are celebrating Christmas Day together, where we’ll open presents, watch Christmas movies, play games, and spend time with anyone who stops by. But, in comparison, it’s a small Christmas. Which, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am perfectly content with.
Although, tonight we did have a little family Christmas party, and surprisingly I did not feel overwhelmed emotionally, and enjoyed myself. We had another Christmas party with another side of the family on Sunday evening, and I felt fine all night that night, too. So, maybe I’m getting better at this, and allowing myself to have fun and enjoy, as opposed to feeling sad that my husband can’t be here. I may feel guilty about feeling this way later, but we’ll see, I guess.
So, I understand that the Holidays with a deployed spouse will be different for everyone, especially if you have children. But feeling depressed or being angry that they cannot be home won’t make them be able to come home to spend the holidays with you. So, feel how you’re going to feel to deal with the stress and sadness of missing them this holiday season, but don’t forget to enjoy it for yourself, too. Our spouses (or children if you are a military mom) will be gone for the term of their deployment – be it months, or a year – and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back and have a completely crappy year while my husband was gone, just because he wasn’t there. I want to be able to say I enjoyed myself, enjoyed what I could, and took advantage of the opportunities I had that maybe wouldn’t have been available to me had my husband been home. Of course, all in consideration and in respect to my husband (you know, no cheating or doing things that would be appropriate for being SINGLE.) You’re still married, if you’re the spouse, so don’t go thinking you can pretend you’re single, because you’re not.
So, to all of you, military spouse or not, I wish you the very Merriest of Christmases, may you and your loved ones stay safe. If you do have a loved one who is deployed, I hope he or she enjoys the holiday and all of the wonderful Holiday care packages that they receive, and that they get to come home and enjoy more Christmases with you in the future.