The holiday season is different for me every year, it seems. When I was young, there was anticipation, joy, wonder, and so many other things. As I got older, some of those feelings were replaced by sadness and loss as the season reminded me of family members who might be out of reach or gone completely.
I remember multiple Christmas Eves in which my sister and I would attempt to stay awake to hear Santa Clause land on the roof or come down our never-used chimney that was generally blocked by the couch or entertainment center. We never wondered if he could get through; our parents swore that he was magical and a piece of furniture would not stop a man traveling around the world in one night.
One of my favorite Christmas mornings involved the prank I pulled on my sister. It was tradition in our family that we opened one present on Christmas Eve, our stockings before breakfast, and everything else after the family had eaten. This year I had drank enough water to shame Hoover Dam and got up to relieve myself in the middle of the night. At that time, the presents had already been placed on display for the morning wake-up and the stockings were out front.
Placing that piece of coal in her stocking, and watching the shocked and bewildered looks on my parents’ and grandparents’ faces the next morning will always be a priceless memory for me.
This year’s holiday season finds me with many things for which to be thankful and hopeful. We will be signing the paperwork on our house next week and moving in shortly after that. We might not get the Christmas decorations up this year, but knowing that next year will find our house with lights and other shiny things makes me happy.
It also seems we are on the road to filling that house with screaming, pooping, young people. For all my sarcasm just then, I am very excited. I have wanted to be a parent since I was in high school and I feel very accomplished and successful in checking the blocks most people feel they have missed out on if they have their children too young. I joined the Army and saw the world, I graduated from college… what else do people normally beg and plead for young people to experience before they start a family but those two things?
I realized something as I started my blog today: in only a couple short weeks, I will have been successful in my endeavor to blog every Sunday this year. I never cheated and I never wavered. That feels pretty good, I will admit. I may not have always had something worthwhile and beneficial to share, but throwing a few thoughts out every Sunday was more helpful to me than I ever intended it to be for others. I do hope something I said helped someone though. That would just be icing on the cake.
This weekend was my first National Guard drill weekend. It was brief and relatively uneventful, but I think I am thankful for that. I was nervous about my first day as much as any first day of school, but I met some awesome people and did not have to do anything majorly thought-invoking or physically strenuous. I am looking forward to January’s drill weekend so I can meet the rest of the unit and get to know what I will be doing while I wait to become an officer.
I know this blog is about half the length of the majority of my others, but I am going to take this time to cuddle with the husband a little bit before he has to go to work. As your holiday season ramps up and then winds down, take a few minutes to think of family members you have not thought of in a while, reconnect with a friendship you might have neglected, and do something nice for a complete stranger. With these three small things, your holiday can be as good for others as they are for you.
You will also walk away feeling like you accomplished something great, even if it is just picking up the phone and calling a family member or old friend, or donating some of your time or money to help someone less fortunate. Be good to each other. In the end, we are all we have.