As I sat at church last night for the Christmas Eve service I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this is the first time in four years that my husband has actually been off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For the past 14 years we’ve squeezed in our gift opening to a slot of time before he had to leave for work or the day before. The kids played with their toys and my husband left for shift. Occasionally he gets the day off but it is not a yearly experience. Christmas is always celebrated but rarely ON December 25.
This year we almost don’t know what to do. My husband got to watch everyone open gifts and then STAY. We are spending time with both his parents and mine. We are actually doing Christmas on Christmas Day! How does this work?
I’ve gotten used to either staying home or traveling with just me and the boys so we could be a part of the Christmas Day traditions. This year we are all together and it feels weird to be celebrating on the actual day that the calendar tells us is Christmas.
Family is starting to arrive here at Nana’s house. Aunts, uncles and cousins will fill the house. We’ll eat turkey and ham. We’ll exchange gifts. We’ll play bingo with 35 people and have our yearly wrapping paper ball fight that one uncle is sure to start. Everyone will leave but us, and when I get packed up to head to my parents’ house for the evening my cop will come with me this year. I won’t be worrying about if he’s safe and being so far away. I’ll have him by my side. I think that is why I’ve found myself holding his hand, walking arm in arm and snuggling just a little closer when we sit on the couch to watch It’s a Wonderful Life with everyone. It’s been four years and this opportunity probably won’t come again for another six years so I’m taking it all in while I can.
So on this Christmas Day 2015, if they are off, hug your LEO a little tighter. Snuggle a little closer. Just watch as he/she gets to spend time with family and cherish it. And if your LEO is working today, Thank You for your and their sacrifice. Know that you are not alone. Hold on to those memories of the Christmases you DO have together and stay strong. It is your turn this year but we’ll take the shift next year. This year we’ll absorb our hugs so we have them next year and we’ll be praying for your safety today. Stand strong. Be safe. And Merry Christmas.