Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, and that’s a lot to take in.
October becomes November. The holidays will be here soon. Everyone else seems excited, but there is a part of you that just wants the holiday season to be over. You just want to fast forward time.
You think about what you are going to do. Should you go home to see your parents? Should you go home to see your in-laws? Should you just stay put so your kids can be in a familiar space?
You wonder about the tree. Every year you pick one out together, but this year will be different. And it hurts to think about what to do about this tradition, about all the holiday traditions they will miss.
You know you need to figure all of this out. You can’t just ignore Christmas. You can’t do that to your kids, but you feel lost.
Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, and you are not sure how everything is going to work out.
You think about what you love about this time of year, and figure out how to get to a better place. You know they have to be away, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip anything. You start to wonder if maybe celebrating would be the best way to make it through.
As the stores put out their decorations, as the world seems to march on to the best season of all, your heart can’t get into it. Even though you really want it to.
You think about years past, and try not to worry about what they will miss. Will they be missing you as you miss them? Will they have a good holiday too, celebrating it so far from home?
Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, and that makes you feel very much alone.
As your family and friends share what they are getting their kids, you think about how that is all up to you this year. That your spouse can’t help you with the shopping or the wrapping or by playing Santa. That all they can really do is offer a few suggestions, or maybe send some things through Amazon.
As November moves on, you wonder about Thanksgiving and how you will celebrate a day to be thankful when it feels like so much is missing. Can you get together with friends this year? Can you have a feast knowing they will miss all the fun?
Once you get past Thanksgiving, the pit in your stomach is back. You can feel it. The thought of Christmas morning, and knowing they won’t be there is a lot to think about. The thought of missing them on that day is almost too much.
Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, but you are going to find a way through.
You think about all you have been through before. One time they left right before your 30th birthday, and you got through that. When you gave birth to your son, they were across the ocean. You survived a 15-month deployment, which included two Christmas Days, and found a way to still make the holidays special for your family.
You know you are strong enough to handle this, why doesn’t it always feel that way?
You know you have been through this before, so why does this year seem so hard?
You know you can handle the holidays with a deployed spouse, but why does it feel so impossible sometimes?
And so you do what us military spouses do. You figure things out. You find out what works.
Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, but that doesn’t mean the holidays are canceled.
That just means they will look a little differently than they usually do. That just means you will have the chance to do things a little differently.
You and your children will create memories together, and grow as a family. You will take more photos than normal, and share them with your spouse. You will send some pretty amazing holiday-themed care packages.
You will find friends to celebrate with, or just enjoy the quiet that can come from a simple Christmas. You will figure out how to make this work, even if the way you celebrate this year doesn’t look the same as it has in the past.
Your spouse won’t be home for the holidays this year, and they could miss next year too.
If your spouse is in the military, they could be gone for the holidays again. They can miss Christmas, or Hanukkah, or your birthday. They can miss New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day, or any holiday that is special to you.
And as military spouses, we might shed some tears about this. Missing your spouse during the holidays isn’t fun. But as military spouses, we also figure out how to make the holidays work for us, we have to. There is no other way.
So if you are getting ready to go through your first holiday season without your spouse, know you can figure out a way to get through this. Get creative. Involve friends and family. And do what works well for you and your own family.
Do you do anything special when your spouse is away for the holidays???