Monday, November 23, 2009

'Tis the Season

This time of year gets me right in the heart. I'm so sappy and mushy and cry at stupid commercials on television. I'm reminded of the joys in my life as well as the sorrow.
I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful I have three beautiful and healthy children who are bright, funny, and even mischievious. I am so thankful that my husband has a job in this trying economy. We have a roof over our heads and food on the table. We have four furbabies that we absolutely adore, though puppy training is not going as well as we'd like. I'm thankful my husband is not deployed for this holiday season, though he does have duty on the beloved Turkey Day.
But this time of year often reminds me of the things my children will never encounter or experience. The Holidays are often bittersweet because while I am so very thankful for the obvious, I am also guilt-ridden and remorseful of the life I cannot share with my children.
I remember my own childhood filled with happy holiday memories. There were cousins galore. We'd visit each side of our family. In my wee years it was my Great Grandma Frisk's house for my dad's side of the family. She had a tiny apartment and all four of her grandsons piled in it with their families. We had pies, turkey, ham, italian dishes of all sorts, cheeses, pepperoni, and of course the huge black olives that I'd get yelled at for putting on my fingers. In later years, after my great grandmother passed, one uncle and aunt would host the family function. It was never at our house, but I loved going to whomever's turn it was. The ladies would gather in the kitchen and the men in the living room. Us kids ran about upstairs pretending this and that.
On my mom's side, we always gathered at Grandma and Grandpap Edinger's house. My grandmother birthed nine children, who mostly all had children themselves. And though, each family would pop in and out throughout the day, the house was always filled. The long table on the one side of the kitchen would be filled with foods: pies, cakes, homemade buns and breads, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy - omg the gravy was delicious - salads, dressings. From tiny eyes like mine, I knew that if I took one bite of everything on the table, I'd be stuffed for weeks. And of course, Grandpap always made sure to have flavored pop: grape, orange, Cherokee red. Cherokee red was his favorite. Us cousins all played some sort of game. Mother May I in the hallway, freezetag and Hide n Seek outside. We'd sit and chat about whatever. We played dolls. We were all together. And it was fantastic.
These are the sort of memories I am sad my children won't know. They have exactly three cousins from Jeff and I's siblings. One in Tennessee, who is all of one year old and whom we haven't met yet. Two in Oregon, who are a lot older than our own kids and they've only met Aden when he was nine months old. It's sad. Our family is spread out between Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oregon, Ohio, Tennessee. And sure, we visit from time to time on some holidays. It's not the same.
Most holidays, we spend here at home, with just us five. It's disheartening at best. It's sad for me, but not for them. They don't know the difference and have no idea what they are missing out on. But, I do. At least this year, my mom will be here for Christmas. It's part of being a military family. It's something we accept. We don't complain, because the military is our livlihood. It is what it is, I suppose.
Mom and I were talking on the phone this evening making plans for the summer and I just cannot wait until it gets here. We're going to go camping and visit family, go places and do things. It's going to be fantastic. The best part is, the kids will get to go camping with oodles of cousins. The first time they will ever get to experience anything like what I grew up with. They will get to go fishing and swimming and hiking and boating and everything with my cousins' kids. It'll be great. I kind of wish we can fast forward to that part of the year.
The only downfall is that Jeff will be deployed. He'll miss it, like he misses a lot of things. This will be our 7th deployment. I can't say it gets any easier. I can already feel anxiety creeping up on me. I absolutely detest the fact that he misses so much out of our lives. But, I can't really bite the hand that feeds us. Jeff loves his career in the Navy and I am proud of his sacrifice. The kids put him on a pedastol, where he deserves to be, and I suppose that is good enough for me.

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