About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Living through a deployment Christmas

For many of you who are reading this blog, this Christmas will be spent separated from your soldier. Of all of the times of year, this is the hardest to be going through a deployment. Christmas is all about being with your family and sharing the joy of all that the holidays have to offer. When my wife was deployed last year I remember Christmas being the hardest, loneliest part of the 12 months. I remember well dreading the coming of December and Santa's arrival. No other special occasion, it seems to me, hurt more. Not anniversary, not birthdays, not even Thanksgiving. All of those were bearable. Christmas was a different matter. So the question arrises: how do you get through it without crawling into a deep dark hole until it is over? Well... to put it simply, you get though it any way you can. There are some things you can do to blunt some of the loneliness which I will share with you. Keep in mind that nothing is going to totally make the pain of separation go away. It is what it is.
The first thing you can do is more important that you'll realize. Simply put, do your best to NOT be alone. Whether it is family or friends, surround yourself with people. Last year I went to several Christmas parties and enjoyed myself simply because I wasn't alone. Yes, I know, seeing others with their spouses or SO's can cause some loneliness. But that's nothing compared to sitting alone in your house after the kids have gone to bed and staring at a Christmas tree by yourself. Being with other people can take your mind off of what you're missing most, even if it is for a short period of time. And you might actually find yourself (gasp) having a good time. Remember, enjoying yourself during a deployment is NOTHING TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT. In fact, I believe it is vital to coming through a difficult time. Our spouses may be gone, but we still have to carry on here. There's no rule, law, or moral reasoning that says we have to be miserable.
Another survival tip is one that can actually make you feel even better about this time of year. Put simply... be a blessing to others. Use some of that tax free deployment pay and get your kids (for those of you who are parents) a few more presents and tell them they are from mom/dad who is gone. Yes, I know, the season isn't just about presents. But there's nothing that says you can't enjoy going out and buying cool stuff for your kids!

You can also use this time of year to help others. Do you know anyone who is down on their luck? Help them out by buying their kids some presents or making them a Christmas meal. Go with your church to hand out coats and winter clothes to those in need. Whatever the way you decide to serve, just do it. Serving and blessing others is one of the best ways to get your mind OFF of how tough this time of year is for you and me. We can do for others and feel a sense of warmth in our heats because we are making a difference in someone else's life. And you know as well as I do that when we start helping out others in their circumstances, it tends to make what's wrong in our lives seem not quite so bad after all.

Finally, on Christmas day, make it special for the kids. If you need to put on a happy act, then do so. If you're feeling down, don't let them pick up on it. Christmas morning is for them, to begin with, and it is the day that they've most looked forward to for the past 364 days of the year. After the presents are finished and the kids are enjoying their toys, write a letter/email to your deployed spouse and tell them all about it. Be detailed. Fill it full of imagery so they can picture being there too. And, more importantly, spend that HUGE Christmas meal with people you care about. I can't think of better people than those going through a deployment just like you. That's one of the great things about the military community. We stick together during tough times. Family, friends, whoever. Spend that day with PEOPLE. Don't spend it alone.

Before you know it, the 26th will be here and you will have made it. You can do it. Is it tough? Yes. Impossible? No. Make the most of it and do what you have to to get through it. And remember: It's ok to enjoy yourself. This deployment is about you just as much as your soldier. As spouses, we've earned it.

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

1 comment:

  1. Well, put.
    It is very hard, at times, to stay positive for the kids, but you have to do what you have to do; later on, in years to come, they'll appreciate that we didn't sit around and do nothing the whole time Daddy was gone.
    If anything, I use deployments as a time to stay busy and do more exploring, visiting, teaching the kids that it could always be worse...