When it comes to celebrating holidays ,as a family, we automatically make plans to be together. Most people with civilian jobs can take off work or are given holidays off.
Therefore it is easy for them to be with their families to celebrate.
Holidays Growing Up
I grew up in a very close family where we always made it a priority to be with one another through the holidays and participate in all the traditions as a family. Sometimes we would even spend it with extended family in another state. So holidays meant alot to my parents when I was growing up.
We would take part in making thanksgiving meal together. Each of us would make a dish and dessert.
After Thanksgiving, we would decorate the tree and house as a family.
We would spend all day christmas eve and christmas together.
There was never a question that we wouldn’t be together. Family always came first over everything else.
My Family Life Now
After being married for 2 and half years now, my husband and I have been very lucky to not have had to move states yet. We have had one PCS so far.
Other military families haven’t been so lucky. So we try to never take any time we have together for granted.
While we both grew up where family came first for holidays, military life is very different.
Don’t get me wrong we put our family as a top priority but “the mission” always comes above everything else.
When I say “the mission”, I am referring to my husband’s job in the military. Basically, whenever they need him and whatever they need him to do, he does it no matter what.
In every military family, “the mission” comes first. Sometimes it is hard for both of us to accept this, but this is the life my husband chose and I stand by him no matter what.
Holidays in our household don’t look like your typical gathering. Mostly because my husband has an unpredictable schedule.
While they try to give him a more flexible schedule at the end of the year, it is never a guarantee. I have learned to not get my hopes up and plan to do something on his days off between rotations (shifts).
This time of year is something that we have learned to adjust and make do when it comes to celebrating as a family. It is never the same every year so we have to plan it different every holiday.
This year we weren’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving together. We made a nice meal the night before but spent it apart as he had to work.
While I was sad and wishing we could have spent it as a family, I was able to spend time with my family. It’s never easy accepting being apart from my husband but it’s just something us military wives can’t dwell on.
Accepting the Time Apart
Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept because I grew up so much differently. Our family life is different than what you may think. We do all that we can to make it work and appear “normal” but we spend alot of time apart.
This is just the sacrifice that comes with military life. I support my husband always and know how hard he works for our family.
Sacrificing holidays together is just a small price ,in my mind, to pay for compared to how much he does and gives for our country.
Military families give up more than you may realize. Even families with the deployed have it harder than my family does.
These days I feel like society lacks the acknowledgment of this sacrifice. I want to change that by sharing behind the scenes of what its like. Hoping to help others understand what these families go through.
This holiday season I encourage all of you to support a military family this holiday season. Open your doors to families who are far from home or have a family member overseas. Write a letter to a deployed military member. Send care packages to military men and women overseas.
And most all thank service men, women and their families for serving our country. We need to show our support and respect for these people. They do so much that we don’t realize.
We have been very blessed this year and never try to take anything for granted in our lives. Our time together is precious and we want our children to see that too.
I encourage you and your families to really reflect on your family life and never take your time together for granted. Be kind and not quick to judge others. You never know what they may be going through.
Military life isn’t an easy life but love and support is what holds it together. Be that support. Show your support to our military this holiday season! Show them that they have people who care for them!
Let’s take better care of our military this season together!