Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years…
Everyone does holidays a little differently. Some people refuse to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, and then you have people like me…I’ve been listening to Christmas music for two weeks, Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and my house is covered in Christmas decorations I got from Hobby Lobby because they were 50% off. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ya know?
And it’s the most wonderful time of the year, because for the first time in what feels like a long time, I’m not playing the guessing game of “is he coming home this year? Did he get leave? Was it approved?”, and I’m also not wondering how to navigate the holidays without upsetting one side of the family or the other. Instead, we’re buying a Christmas tree and ornaments and dressing our pets up as Santa Claus and giving them ugly sweaters, there’s a wreath on the front door of our house, and I’m wondering if Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners will be edible, or if we’ll end up eating peanut butter sandwiches that night. And even though I’m stressing out about things like dinner and pies and Christmas presents and whether or not my dogs ugly sweater is on correctly, I’m so very grateful that I’m getting to celebrate our first Thanksgiving, and second Christmas and New Years married and together, in our home, with our fur children who are more spoiled than probably your kids. (Sorry not sorry).
But for the long time I’ve waited for these moments, I still remember the way it felt when the holidays came around and I wasn’t sure if Rick would be there, and all I dealt with was the questions of “is he coming home? What do you mean you don’t know? What’s leave; how does that work? Why can’t he just buy a plane ticket and come home?”
So for the SEVERAL wonderful ladies I know or have the pleasure of a Facebook acquaintance with, that have to deal with this this year…girl, I am so sorry. I was lucky enough that all we missed together was one Thanksgiving, but trust me, I understand the amount of stress, annoyance, and sometimes just plain loneliness that the holidays bring with them, now that it’s getting colder (maybe not so much in Texas, but a girl can hope), and light festivals are happening and you feel like you’ve got no one to go with because you’re not sure if he’s even coming home.
So here are my tips and tricks for getting through the holidays until he’s on a plane on his way back to you:
- Forget about it. Don’t stress about the “what if he doesn’t come home” aspect. Just decorate your tree, make your favorite pie, buy a bottle of wine…you know, whatever gets ya through the night.
- Ignore the people. I know, I’m so rude. Who cares? Honestly, you can only hear, “Oh, that must be so hard,” and “I’m so sorry for you” like twice before it gets annoying and you want to punch some sweet old lady who only means well. She’ll forget all about it and you shouldn’t waste any time being upset over it. Cut Grandma some slack.
- Plan for the best case scenario! Don’t be a sourpuss the entire holiday season until he’s on his way home for a measly 96! Look up fun things to do around your area for the holidays, like ice skating, the Riverwalk in San Antonio, the Festival of Lights in Dickinson…sorry, you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.
- Don’t forget, he’s not the only person in your life. I know, I know. He’s the best. Maybe the most important. You love him the most. (Sorry, Mom.) But while you’re waiting on word from him, don’t forget to show the people around you that you love spending the holidays with them, too. Don’t be lackluster in family traditions just because you’re sad. Love the people you’re with, even if he’s not there.
Something else, that I think is just as important, even if it doesn’t necessarily pertain to just the holiday season:
It. Is. Okay. To. Be. Sad. A lot of the time, people say “cheer up” so often, we begin to feel like it’s a crime to be unhappy. I know I did, during that first month of deployment. But you know what? Your soul mate is somewhere other than near you. You deal with time zone differences, being in different countries, reaching milestones alone, and so much more. You are so very entitled to every single emotion that your situation brings you, even if all of those emotions aren’t positive. Don’t you dare let anyone devalue your emotions. This is your experience, and feeling it is all part of the journey.
What if he doesn’t get to come home?
I’m sorry. I really, really, am because I know that sucks. But you know what? Make a cute Thanksgiving/Christmas care package. Be corny with it; that’s half the fun. Think of starting traditions that you don’t necessarily have to be together to partake in. Those will come in handy during the dreaded deployments, where he’s bound to miss at least one major holiday at least once. Don’t let yourself be sad for the entire season. Go to the Festival of Lights, and FaceTime him. Skype on Christmas morning. Send him a letter on why you’re thankful for him.
This life is hard, and sometimes, it’s really lonely, too. It’s okay to be disappointed, and it’s okay to be happy, too. I hope all your guys come home, ladies. I promise, the wait is worth it. I know it’s hard right now, but in a little while, you’ll be together for the holidays wondering if the cat’s Santa costume is too tight.
And for the people who ask all the questions: for the love of all that is holy, STOP. Thanks
Also, for your viewing enjoyment, Anna Kendrick, showing how we all feel during this busy time:
“Is he coming home”
“Do you know what day he has to go back?”
“Are you going to stay here, or over there?”
“What will y’all be doing?”
“Are you sad? Am I asking too many questions? Is that a bottle of wine? Did you just drink that whole thing?”
Merry Christmas, y’all!