Family/Motherhood/Military Life

What Being a Military Family Taught Me About the Holidays

Family Friday

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My husband missed our sons Birthday. He didn’t get to see the kids in their Halloween costumes this year. He missed Thanksgiving. He will miss seeing the sparkle of our lights and their excited glowing faces on Christmas morning. We will ring in the New Year without him.

The list goes on and on….special moments he misses because he is serving our country.

If you are a military family, this is nothing new to you. It becomes the norm to not have daddy cheering for you at your basketball games. He won’t be there for parent teacher conferences and not for your preschool graduation. They don’t even ask if he will be coming for parents night because he has never been there.

Sadly, we are used to this lifestyle.

It’s not easy.

But, we are strong.

We make it.

We survive.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m not asking for sympathy at all.

This is just our life and part of me being open through this blog is sharing as much of my life as I can with you.

Last month, the kids and I traveled (alone) to the mainland for my father in-laws funeral. My husband was out to sea and only heard of the news of his fathers passing a few days before the funeral. By Gods grace, it worked out for him to meet us for the funeral. We had a short 3 days together and then back out he went to serve and protect.

I’ll never forget the feeling that overtook my body when I overheard a conversation while we sat in the airport during that trip. A lady was talking about Thanksgiving and how upset she was that her WHOLE FAMILY was going to be together. She complained about how so and so always acted a certain way and how another family member always got on her nerves.

It took all of my strength to hold back my tears.

You know how much I would give to have the opportunity to have my WHOLE FAMILY gathered up for a holiday like that? So many times, we go without. So many holidays are spent with just the kids and I. Sometimes, it’s the four of us. But, it’s very rare that we get to be with our entire family.

I was too hurt by her words to confront her. But, inside, my heart was screaming at her, “don’t you realize how blessed you are? Don’t you appreciate you have this opportunity to be together?”

This experience has made me realize how easy it is to take the little things for granted.

I know I’m guilty of this in some areas too. It’s so easy to focus on the negative to the point where we don’t see the big picture. I remember holidays where someone got on my nerves just as she was saying. But, overall, I was able to have the holiday with my family. My whole family gathered together around a meal. Oh, how I would give anything for that now.

How badly I long for that feeling of love and comfort that only family can provide. We’ve given up that experience for our family for now. But, you can guarantee, when things change and we go back to civilian life, we will make it our priority to make that family time happen! We know what it feels like to go without and it won’t happen if we can prevent it!

If you are blessed this year and will be spending time with your family over the holidays, all I ask is that you take a moment and think of the military families who will be spending their holidays apart.

Pray for us.

The day-to-day sacrifices, I have learned to handle gracefully. Christmas is a tough one though.

Pray for our strength.

My strength.

My husbands strength.

Our kids’ strength.

Also, go into the holidays with gratefulness in your heart. Appreciate that annoying family member no matter how bad they are. Appreciate the long traveling you must do to get there. Appreciate the smile that it puts on your face and those around you.

Just appreciate it. All of it. The good. Even the bad.

Today marks the beginning of Advent. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas. Enjoy all that the season brings us!

As we say in Hawaii, Mele Kalikimaka!

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With Aloha,

Lacy

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24 thoughts on “What Being a Military Family Taught Me About the Holidays

  1. It is so ironic that what we take for granted is what someone else is longing for . This reminded me to focus a little less on what is going wrong and highlight what is going right for a change . Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It really is ironic. I used that example with my kids at dinner too. My daughter didn’t want to eat and I had to remind her how some people would be very thankful to have someone cook a nice warm meal for them. Even that is something we take for granted a lot. We have so much to be thankful for. But, like you said, too many times we focus on what is wrong rather than highlighting what is going right. I like how you worded that. Thank you for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Your prayers are much appreciated. We gain our strength from our faith. I often times wonder how other military spouses who don’t believe get through these moments. It hard even with God’s guidance. I can’t imagine doing it alone! Thank you for your support my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. It’s my kids that impress me. My husband retires from the Navy in the next few years. The kids already have a long list of “to do’s” for daddy when he doesn’t have to work so much. First think: build them a tree house! ha

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this. It has put things in perspective for me. And I guess I take it for granted that my family get to spend the holidays together. But I won’t anymore!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad it helped you realize that. I think back to before I was a military family. I would sometimes dread those family get togethers too (I hope none of my family is reading this! ha). But, after being “military” for 10 years, it has really changed the way I view things. My husband grew up an Air Force Brat so it is normal for him to not be around family. But, not for me. I really struggle with it. Enjoy your family this holiday season and embrace each and every moment you can! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of my friends from high school joined the military. And I remember he called me from overseas. And I was going through a rough time in my life.
        But after that phone call it changed my perspective on things. I realized even though things were rough I was safe and sound. While my friend was fighting to keep me and everyone else safe.
        I think about this conversation when things are tough. And it makes me realize that things aren’t really that bad.
        I think also because I’m older now I really do cherish the holidays. And all the memories that go along with it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for sharing this! What a special memory and experience! I think of my husband too when I am having a bad day. I remind myself that I at least get sunshine where as he is stuck in a submarine for several months at a time! How horrible would THAT be!?!?! YIKES!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome! It is very special to me!
        When I think of anyone who is in the military and think of what we all take for granted. It really sets thinks in perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

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