No two military Christmases are the same.
For that matter, no two holidays in military life are the same. But somehow, around the holidays, the differences, uncertainties, and distance from family are more pronounced. Maybe there’s a deployment in your family. Or a TAD. Or a PCS that just happened or is looming.
Maybe you want to be close to family but can’t be.
Maybe the ornaments were smashed during a move and you’ve just discovered their broken remains.
Maybe someone close to you has passed away this year and it’s the first holiday season without them.
Maybe you look at the news and feel nothing but despair for wars and conflicts that seem to always be on the horizon.
Or maybe you’re looking forward to the first holiday season with your loved one in a long time… but you’re worried about everything being just so, just perfect for this precious time you have with them.
I won’t pretend to have experienced all of these situations, but I do know many of these feelings so, so well.
The holidays–especially Christmas– can be difficult for everyone. There are so many expectations, traditions, and experiences that make us feel that we’re not living up to what we should be. Or that make us feel overwhelmed when we should be joyful.
Here’s the truth: Christmas is one 24-hour day, like any other day. It will pass. It is not longer or shorter than any other day. It is not an endgame, the only chance that you’ll have to celebrate this holiday. And there will be one next year. And that one will be different from this year’s. And there is a sense of possibility in things that are ephemeral.
Maybe this is the year you begin a new tradition during a deployment.
Maybe this is the year you abandon your carefully made plans.
Or the one that you’ll remember happily years from now, laughing at that one weird thing that happened.
Maybe this is the year you’ll order out instead of making dinner and be grateful for the break, rather than feeling inadequate.
Maybe this is the year you’ll remember how amazing you are, that your best is good enough, that life will continue no matter what happens this holiday season.
Looking for more?
- To the Military Spouse Missing Their Family at Christmas
- The Military Spouse’s Emotional Toolkit for Christmas
- For the Milspouse Who Isn’t in the Christmas Spirit