It’s the HOLIDAY SEASON!!! That time of year where so much is going on, crazy is a common word, and excitement is at an all time high.
In my house growing up, Thanksgiving was the unofficial start to our holiday season. Some people think it starts with Halloween and some people think it starts when Hallmark starts playing those iconic Holiday films…. But for me, it was Thanksgiving morning.
Rule #1 in our house growing up was that there was NO CHRISTMAS until Thanksgiving. My family has always had what I will call an unhealthy obsession with Christmas and the whole holiday season. From the decorations, to the movies, to the music and all the traditions that come with every single aspect.
I remember at 6am on Thanksgiving morning, I would wake up to Manheim Steamroller Christmas CDs blaring on the stereo followed closely by The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and The Carpenters. This was it… it was go time…. Christmas was here.
As an adult, I have tried hard to keep some of the same traditions in my house. I have definitely become a little more lax with some of the restrictions… come on, y’all know I watch those Hallmark movies when they start in October…. But family traditions are important to me. Having 2 bonus kids that split time between 2 house holds has added some challenges to the holidays, but also some great blessings. We have always saved those big moments for when the kids would be home. Decorating the tree, hanging the stockings, baking cookies, decorating the house… all things we did as a family. Last year was the first Christmas with our youngest which added another level of excitement. Also… another reason to keep up the tradition of Elf on the Shelf and I am TERRIBLE at that game, but I digress.
This year looks very different in my house. Its mainly just me and my 14-month-old. My husband is deployed overseas and that means that the older bonus kids are spending much more time at their moms. So here is the problem… I want to be excited for the holidays, but I’m definitely finding it hard to look forward to a holiday season that looks so very different.
While we maintained so many traditions as a family, my husband and I also had traditions that were ours. We would make a day out of shopping for the kids, going from store to store, him complaining about how much clothes and toys cost, a nice lunch just him and I, and then home to hide our treasures. It was our time. We would sit and wrap presents in front of a nice fire watching one of our classic Christmas movies… he would wrap the easy square or rectangle gifts, and I would wrap the rest. We were together. Laughing, talking, being us. A little mom and dad time, and I loved every second of it.
Here we are… looking toward the Holiday season of 2020. A year that has already proven to be so far beyond weird that words cannot even explain. Here I am… about 90 days into a deployment that will not end until next year. I struggle with so many emotions. I am unbelievably proud of what my husband does. His service with the United States Air Force out of the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton is nothing short of epic. Everyday, he goes to work to protect our freedoms and way of life. He is my real life hero. At the same time, I am sad that he is missing time with his 3 children, missing baseball and softball for the older 2 and missing seeing his baby become a little boy. Selfishly I feel lonely, after my son goes to bed at 7:30, its just me. This year I will do all the parental holiday tasks solo.
Just when I feel trapped in a box of emotions, I am reminded of one thing. The holidays are a magical time. Things are just more special this time of year. Yes, things are different and weird for me this year and I wish it was all “normal”, but I adjust. I take every other weekend that I have the older kids and make the most of it. We will still decorate, bake, sing, and watch our movies. We will still have our Christmas. I will still make them take all of the cheesy pictures; I will still have our presents around the tree but somethings will be different. We will send a Christmas box to daddy… with silly gifts and snacks, homemade decorations, and a desktop tree for him to have while he is away. Different is not always easy. Different is scary and stressful. What I have learned is that different is just that… its different.
What am I doing about it? I am going to embrace it… bring it on 2020! Let’s have a crazy different and weird holiday. One thing never changes, I have my family. I have my kids, I have the most amazing parents and sister, I hit the in-law jackpot, and my friends are second to none. It may be different, but its going to be wonderful. I’m choosing to focus on the memories we are making, the fun we are having, and the love we are sharing because that is what it is all about.
Lets all make a pact to embrace the different.
I truly hope each and every one of you have the most amazingly different holiday season this year…. I cannot wait to see what it has in store.