Saturday, November 16, 2013

Military Life & Happy Holidays, is that an Oxymoron?

That answer might just depend on who you ask and at what moment you ask them.

 have a friend whom is preparing to spend Thanksgiving in hotel in a foreign land with her kids while her husband has duty. They just moved this new country so there have not made friends there yet. I know of another family who's husband just returned from deployment. I am sure they will be singing all kinds of Happy Holiday tunes. We have all heard of the Marines that recently lost their lives at Camp Pendleton. This will undoubtedly be a hard holiday season for their families. Personally this Thanksgiving I am preparing for a Disney movie marathon with my children and pizza because my beloved husband is deployed. Most of our extended family's for all intense and purposes are a million miles away.

There will be moments on Thanksgiving that I might say happy holiday, huh, are you trying to be funny? There might be moments when I count my blessings, the two little ones that will play at my feet that day. The handsome blessing in a foreign land that is away but safe and will probably be about to open the Thanks Birthday box I sent him filled with all kinds of goodies, games and love. I might smile when I order a pizza without any of the vegetables that my husband loves so much but I make the yuck face for. I might just say it is a "different" but Happy Holiday after all.

This Christmas If you ask the Military Wife who's husband is deployed. The one that just successfully assembled a "some assembly" required gift. That of course only had instructions in some foreign language she did not understand. As that wife watches her child smile and feels the pride of accomplishment, she might say this is definitely is a happy holiday.  But, if you ask her between the second and third attempt to get said toy together only to find little Suzie's Princess Play Tent is oddly looking a lot like Leaning Tower of Pisa. She might have a different answer.

Holidays can be hard in this life we live. We are so frequently far from family, and separated from our spouses. It can be easy to get caught up in the difficultly and true heartbreak of empty seats and missing loved ones. I am thankfully preparing for my husband to return home for Christmas this year. We missed him dearly last year and are thankful to have him returning but as I mentally celebrate this moment. I know that someone else is preparing to say good bye to their spouse so mine may come home.
So my answer too: is Military Life & Happy Holidays an oxymoron is yes and no. Some families will be blessed this year and some will face the challenges of making the best of the life we lead. Its not always an easy task to find the bright side of the missing table setting, the odd locations we sometimes end up at and the distance between us and our families. In the moments you feel like happy holiday is an oxymoron try to remember you are not alone in your longing and frustration. Try to find comfort in your little blessings. Try to remember it could be worse and keep the families of the fallen in your thoughts.

If this year you are one of the lucky families, one of the ones that truly will be singing praise to the holiday season. Please try to spread some of that holiday cheer, extend that invite to a family that could use a touch of kindness and love right now. Drop them off a plate of food or a tray of holiday cookies.

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