Although I was gone, I really hoped that my family would have a chance to have experiences and just all-around fun. Not only was I being deployed, but winter was creeping up fast. I didn’t want them sitting in the house, waiting for time to go by. The funny thing is, this was the one area that I couldn’t “plan” for them. I could encourage my husband to take the kids out for a walk, or to the mall for window-shopping or just somewhere in the neighborhood for a treat, but if he was too tired to do so, there was nothing I could do. Thank goodness, our extended family jumped in to help.
I have to give it to my Mother. She really took charge and helped in any way she could. When she had the Duchess all day, they went visiting with some friends of my mom’s and helped to keep the kids in good spirits. When my Dad was home, he made an effort to bond and play with the kids. I think it helped that he had been deployed numerous times, so my parents’ knew the importance of keeping joy in their hearts. My Mom even MADE my Husband take a saturday night off. She told him to call up a friend, go out and see a movie or something! Ha! When my Husband told me that, I just about died laughing. He does the same thing to me from time to time, when he sees me in a frazzled state that I usually don’t see myself. Before I can have a breakdown, she sends me out for me-time. He immediately admitted that even though he didn’t realize it, he needed that night out. I’m glad my Mom tuned into that before things got to heavy for him.
As a surprise to all of us, my Mother-in-law, My Husband’s Aunt and his cousin drove all the way from Ohio the day after Christmas to be with my family for a few days. We go to Ohio every year for Christmas, and my in-laws were not only upset that I had to deploy, but were upset that they wouldn’t get to see us for Christmas. They hopped in the car and just drove. My son was the most excited about this trip, since he adores all three of those family members, especially, his cousin. He’s 16, so he’s a “big boy” to Sonny. He loves to just hang out with him and be a big boy too. Everytime I called him in January, he talked to me about that surprise trip. He really enjoyed himself.
The best, and hardest, time the all had was on New Year’s Eve. Every year, my Parents have a New Year’s party. It is our family’s tradition to fellowship at this party, even if we haven’t seen each other all year. Although I was upset about missing Christmas, this one was a real blow to me. But, I learned that the kids had a great time, playing with their great-aunts and uncles, their cousins and just being loved on by everyone. The holiday was equally hard for my husband, but luckily, I was able to Skype home right before the ball dropped and we got to ring in the New Year together. I had to wait a few more months for my New Year’s kiss, but it was worth the wait :). My sister even created a surprise video for me, with everyone at the party wishing me a safe deployment and a speedy return home. That really touched my heart.
Everyone was able to have some great experiences, even when we were apart. There were also lessons learned!
To be continued tomorrow….