Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Bittersweet Season

Since Joel and I have been married, we've been separated plenty for important dates and events...(I started to list them and then got depressed seeing them glaring at me, so I deleted them)...   But with all the birthday's, anniversaries, and holiday's, Joel's always been in-country for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now, that's not to say that we've celebrated every Thanksgiving and Christmas together - but we've at least seen each other for a bit during those days before he had to go work at the base.  (No, civilians, military bases do not shut down on holidays...  but that's a rant for another day)  *sigh*

I knew that this Season would be hard.  I knew that I would have to be extra cheerful for the girls, so that it is special for them and so they don't feel that there's a big Daddy-sized hole missing.  The word that keeps popping in my mind as I think about what I'm feeling during this time is bittersweet.  This season, for me, is both pleasant yet painful. 

After 8 years of Thanksgivings and Christmases together, Joel and I have our routine, our traditions and our roles: 
- I make the stuffing that he loves. 
- He bakes a pumpkin pie, because I hate to bake. 
- He grumbles as he pulls all of my Christmas stuff out of the garage and asks me every year, why I need so many decorations.
-I drag him to store after store to look at more Christmas stuff
- He sets up the tree while I decorate the house
-We listen to Christmas music as we decorate (his pick is Bing Crosby while I have to fight him to let me put in Josh Groban)
- I watch him from the window as he sets up our deer outside
- I then listen to him rant as he has to fix a broken deer and replace bulbs on said deer
- After the decorating is done, we sit on the couch and cuddle with just the light from the tree
- He watches Grace so I can wrap all the presents at once
- Grace and Joel decorate a gingerbread house together
- I look forward to seeing what ornament Joel ordered from New Hampshire with all of our names inscribed on it

I love our holiday routines.  And this year is obviously different.  I got all the boxes out of the garage and got things set up as the girls napped over a 3 day period.  Then Grace helped me to decorate the small tree this year, because the big tree was too much for me to do without Joel here.  The house looks as cozy as it always does around this time of year, but it feels different. 

I promise you that I'm trying to be cheerful.  I love Christmas - it's my favorite holiday.  I love that I get to see Autumn's eyes grow big as she sees the lights on the tree and her stocking hanging from the mantle.  I love that I get the chance, once again, to tell Grace about a tiny little baby that came to earth to do great things for us.  It's still a magical time, because the meaning of this season didn't change because Joel's overseas. 

So, I'm focusing on Christ and trying not to focus on the emptiness that I feel with Joel being gone during this time.  We have much to be thankful for, and I'm thrilled to spend this time with my two girls, who help me to find joy in the simple things that Christmastime brings.


Anonymous said...

I think it's great that you're focusing on the "reason for the season". Plus, all of holidays are just dates on a calendar. You can celebrate family and friends anytime, anywhere!

Emmy said...

Yes, I can tell you are trying to be positive but this still made me so sad for you. I will pray that your Christmas can be extra magical this year


I would say you should add setting up the trains but I believe trains are always set up in your house. Here they are set up with the tree and taken down also, although when he gets back we may need help putting together something that is always up!

Jill said...

CSPURGEON - Interesting enough, we don't have a train for the tree, although Joel's talked about getting one since we've been married. But, yes, trains are a fixture around here... I'm even SO awesome, that I let him put a small layout in our bedroom. Again, because I'm awesome.

Jill said...

Emmy - Thanks for the prayers!

Michelle said...

My husband is also in Afghanistan so I know how you feel! It is definitely very bittersweet. I only set up a small tree, too. I didn't want to deal with a big one, either! Take care and hang in there. We'll get through this.