Laura's Sunday Dish :: A Military Christmas

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The holiday season is officially over! Whew!! Now that I actually have a moment to stop and take a “me” moment I cannot help but ponder over how incredibly hectic & crazy the season has become. The more I think on it &

the more I converse with my civilian friends & family, I have become simply awed at the differences between a typical civilian holiday versus the holidays that have become the norm for me & my family.

When

I first joined the military I initially found it rather strange to be invited over my supervisors’ & coworkers’ houses to celebrate with them on major “family” holidays. For most people, these holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc.) are often the ones that are spent visiting relatives they barely know or hardly care about. This was the case with many of my friends & me growing up. In these celebrations the “guest lists” rarely included anyone that wasn’t family. So for me to visit those that I worked with over these holidays made me feel as though I was intruding on their family life or like I was a “third wheel” so to speak. Thankfully after excessive amounts of time spent in this world of camo, I quickly changed my views & became grateful for these invites that often eased the loneliness & heart ache I felt when I was far from my home & family.

Now, almost 13 years later, that I am married with a family of my own, the presence of single soldiers, or other military friends & their families have become the norm for me. There is rarely a holiday spent at our home that we do NOT have several single soldiers dining & celebrating with us. It is not unheard of in our house to have invited 20-30 people over to celebrate. There have even been plenty of times that we have had “uninvited” guests or last minute guests show up who just had nowhere else to go. We have never turned anyone away even if it has meant stretching the portions out to make the food go further.  Our motto has definitely become “The More the Merrier” & I have seriously had moments of true sadness upon hearing that we

either forgot someone or didn’t know that someone was alone during these events. We always make a huge effort to make sure that all of the guys in my husband’s unit always know that our doors are always open. Even throughout the many holidays that my husband has been deployed or away for those of us left behind have always bonded together and shared the holidays together.

As much craziness as these celebrations cause I have to say that I find them far more satisfying & happy than a bother or an inconvenience. The sense of camaraderie & family that I have found with the amazing people I have been privileged enough to have shared these holidays with far outshines many, if not most, of the holidays from my past.   I have tried many times to explain the traditions with some of my civilian friends, but am often met with comments like, “You are crazy to have to make that much food” or “I would feel weird having people I don’t know at my house celebrating with us.” & I just have to laugh it off. It’s hard enough sometimes trying to explain simple things about the military to some of these people, let alone trying to explain the intense relationships formed with those that share this lifestyle.

So instead I sit here “recovering” from the season that exhausted me, but yet made me feel like we have made a potentially depressing holiday season a little more bearable for a few people that would have otherwise been alone & missing their families. I am comforted knowing that the exhaustion I feel is more that “happy tired cause a good time was had by all” feeling instead of the “Holy crap that all sucked and I never want to do that again” feeling. I am comforted in knowing that come next holiday & each holiday after that will be as rewarding & have that same “military family” feel that I have grown to love & appreciate. So I say, “Bring it on Easter! I got this!” (As long as I can sleep this weekend away first, of course.)

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Comments

  1. Wow!!! That was awesome!! Thank you for sharing!! I am new to being an Army wife, but I look forward to holidays just like that!!!