When they are gone for Thanksgiving, the holiday changes. What you did before, you might not be able to do this year. Some traditions will have to be postponed.
You make plans with a few other spouses from your FRG. One has volunteered to make the turkey, the other stuffing and dessert. You will bring mashed potatoes and rolls. A few other friends will bring the rest.
You already know the kids will want to play together and are thankful for a big playroom. Kids will have fun and you will too. Having fun together with friends is the best thing to do when your spouse is deployed, especially during the holidays.
You thought about going home for Thanksgiving but the idea of flying across the country, with three young kids, over Thanksgiving weekend was a little too much. You will miss your family but know what is best for you and your kids. Maybe next year will be different.
When they are gone for Thanksgiving, part of you wants to skip the whole thing.
You think about not even bothering, what’s the point? But then you remember that skipping holidays isn’t something your spouse would want. That they would want you to have a good day, even if they were not there to celebrate with you.
And now that your plans are set for a Friendsgiving, you are feeling pretty good about the day. You made plans and should enjoy your friends, their kids, and all the yummy food.
You are thankful you don’t have to go through all of this alone. You have your military community to get through you. Other spouses that understand what a deployment is like, and how to make it through.
When they are gone for Thanksgiving, you think about how they will spend their day overseas.
You hope they get a good meal. You hope they feel loved. You hope the turkey isn’t dry and the pumpkin pie is as good as the one you usually make each year.
They got your Thanksgiving care package the week before. Some of their favorite candies, a cake in a jar, and a few turkey crafts your kids made for them. You know getting that box made him smile.
You hope for a phone call on turkey day, but know that might not happen. Sometimes communication isn’t the best but you have learned to accept that. However, hearing their voice on a holiday would be a nice treat.
When they are gone for Thanksgiving, you have to decide what traditions you will still do and which ones you will skip.
You want to put the Christmas tree up but that is hard to think about since they usually help you with decorating. You know your kids will want to decorate and that will motivate you to make it happen.
The lights on the tree will be healing and the stockings on the fireplace will make you smile. The joy of the season will help on the more difficult deployment days. You hope the magic of the holidays will flow and help all of you during this time of year.
You plan to video everything. You will take more photos than you normally do. You don’t want them to miss anything.
When they are gone for Thanksgiving, you can start to get a bit jealous of those who have their spouse by their side.
While this can be normal, remember that next year that could be you. With this military life, some years they will be missing holidays and some years they will be home with us. Remembering that can be helpful if you are struggling during this time of year.
And most likely, next Thanksgiving won’t be the next holiday they will be home for. Look ahead and think about the new year and everything it will bring. You could be missing them now, but time will go on and soon it will be time for homecoming and your time apart will come to an end.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Deployments are rough, and your emotions can be all over the place. Figure out what works for you and your family and make the best of your time apart.
When they are gone for Thanksgiving, you can still enjoy the holiday.
There is so much to be thankful for, and so many blessings. Try to remember what you have, and try to give back when you can. There are so many ways to give.
This Thanksgiving you can volunteer in your local community. You can plan to take part in Giving Tuesday which is coming up the first week of December. You can spend time with your community, making memories and getting through the hard stuff together.
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season. Going through this with a deployed husband or deployed wife isn’t going to be easy. But, you can still enjoy the holidays, find ways to make memories, and come out stronger on the other side.
How will you be spending Thanksgiving this year?