This past week we reached the 6 month mark of this deployment. We’re half way to the finish! Halfway to Daddy being home. Half way to feeling his arms wrapped around me again. Half way to not being a “single mom” anymore! We’ve reached 6 months with only a few bumps along the way, and I’m incredibly impressed and amazed that we are actually here. When my husband left six months ago I felt like we would ever reach being half way through the deployment. But now here we are and the past months seem to have flown by. Of course, if you’d asked me a few months, or even weeks, ago I would have said that the days were dragging but, but in all honesty it’s gone by very quickly.
With the first half of the deployment under my belt, I know that I am capable of surviving what’s left to come. Our first Yellow Ribbon Event is coming up in a few weeks and the rumors of homecoming dates have already begun to spread (of course I know better to listen and get my hopes up!). But even with those signs of the end of this deployment, I’m still a bit scared of the next few months. I know I’m strong enough to handle anything that comes up, but there is one thing that has me stressed already…the holidays. Yes, I know it’s only October 1st, but as the last six months have proven to me, the holidays will be here before I know it. And with Christmas decorations already making an appearance in some stores (I actually heard Christmas music playing), I’m already worried about how to handle this season. I’ve never spent Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years without my husband by my side. My children have always had Daddy there to build their toys on Christmas morning. Our traditions have always included all of us, how do I continue those when one of the most important people is missing?
The first thing that came to my mind a few weeks ago when I began thinking about the holidays was to almost just ignore them. Normally, the holiday season, all the way from October to January, is my absolute favorite time of year. But this year I imagined that I wouldn’t feel like celebrating without my husband to celebrate with, so why bother. I planned on taking the kids to Disney World for Christmas, both as their present and as a distraction. We would still be celebrating but we wouldn’t have to be home. I don’t want to be home in what feels like an empty house, but I also don’t want to spend the holidays with family. I know that sounds awful, but I don’t want to have to hold it together when I really feel like crying because I miss my husband. I don’t want to be watched and scrutinized to see “how I’m holding up.”
At the same time, I also know that I can’t hide from the holidays. I can’t do that to my children, who need the tradition and the happy times. They need to be around family and they need to have this time of year be “normal”. I can’t steal the joy and excitement of the holidays from my kids just because I don’t want to face them and would rather just skip it all together. So for them, I will continue the traditions we have always had as a family. We will decorate the house for each coming holiday, we will enjoy WAY too much food and we will visit with our families as we always have done in the past. While I’m still anxious about the next few months, at least I can look at them as months that will bring us closer to our homecoming. I just hope the next six months of this deployment will go by as fast as the first six!