Today’s prompt has had me thinking all day. I love the Holidays and I always have so to pick one out of all of them to call my favorite has had me going back and forth. That’s when I remembered it. The Christmas that I would have never thought would be in among my favorites. The one that didn’t make it in time for December 25th but when we did have it it was the Christmas that would stay in my heart…always.
November 4th Prompt:
What is your favorite holiday memory?
(And yes, you can pick any holiday, including your birthday.)
It was our very first year in Hawaii. I arrived that August and my Hubby had been working non-stop. Being a soldier wasn’t easy and being a soldier’s wife was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
When I walked off the plane into the warm breeze I would come to love, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our second daughter and toting my 1 1/2 year old and 10 year old son behind me. We were starting a part of our journey that I was neither prepared for or even sure what to expect from. Still we were back together and for me that was the most important thing.
My Husband had been in Hawaii on his own for nearly 4 months and there was nothing I wanted more than to return to his arms and the comfort of life together – under one roof. Yet little did I know that although we were going to be sharing an address again the ‘together’ part of my pretty scenario wasn’t going to be as easy as I would like.
The first few months were full of nothing but adjustments. The time difference, the weather, the costs – all of it was brand new and only magnified by my preggo emotions. I was homesick, anxious and fearful all the time. I had no family beside my Hubby and Kiddies and despite the support the Army can give I was not seeing it right away. The only friends we had were my Husband’s Soldiers and though I grew to love them as blood in those moments I wasn’t there yet.
I had my daughter in November a mere 2 days after a Thanksgiving spent cooking and serving an entire platoon of soldiers. Nearly 20 guys had eaten hat night. It was awesome. It felt great to give them a taste of home that most of them hadn’t felt in a while. They were all younger than me 18 to early 20s. Still I longed for home. I wanted someone to take care of me.
After my daughter was born my Husband had leave for 3 whole days. It was amazing! I almost felt like normal but then it was over. Then the late night feedings with no one to help, the early mornings with two infants and the evenings spent dealing with a pre-teen who was about as happy with our new island home as I was.
When December came I was so lost in my fog I almost didn’t notice. It isn’t as if there were a lot of Christmas around me to remind me. We were still having 85 degree days with cool ocean filled breezes and it seemed as if no one saw the point in decorating. My husband noticed. He saw my sadness almost as clearly as I felt it.
One night maybe 3 days before December 25th he came home and told me he was going to be in the field for Christmas. In all honesty, I didn’t really make that big a difference. I had only bought a few gifts for the kids and in the midst of it all I had still been unable to find my Christmas joy. I told him it was okay and we would be okay. He promised to ‘make it up to me’ but I told him he didn’t have to. Sad part was – I meant it.
So midnight on December 25th I sat in the living room of my Hawaii home holding my nearly 1 month old baby and trying to get her sister to stay asleep. Once her feeding was done I went to bed and slept as if the Holiday was not even a thought or a care.
The next morning I woke up, made breakfast and went on with a normal day at home with my Kiddies. We had decided to open our gifts when Daddy came home so I didn’t even mention what day it was to my youngest and my son never seemed to mention it either. It was as if Christmas was passing us by that year and oddly enough none of us paused to notice.
The day after my Husband came home he said he had to go out and would be back in a bit. I woke up from a nap to hear banging outside. When I looked out the window I saw my Hubby and one of his Soldiers (who was like an older brother to my son) hanging Christmas lights on our porch. They brought in a tree, strung tinsel and had our little on base house looking like our own piece of Mele Kalikimaka in no time.
It was amazing. That simply act had me so excited. What was I so upset about? Why had I been so sad? I had a Husband who loved me enough to give me Christmas where it mattered. Not on some date on the Calendar but in my heart and the hearts of my family. That day we had Christmas and it was the best one we had to date. We made dinner together, talked and made memories that I treasure to this day.
It was that Aloha Christmas that taught me a Holiday is not made on a date or even in a certain place but out of the moments we share with those we love the most.