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Celebrating Christmas When You’re Apart

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We’ll be spending Christmas apart, again. The funny thing is-this year it’s not nearly as traumatic as it was the first time it happened.

That’s part of the military mindset-isn’t it? Ways of life that at first seem overwhelming, daunting, and upsetting soon become “just another……” Whether it’s your spouse missing your child’s first Christmas, spending your anniversary apart, not being together for either of your birthday’s in years, no matter what the special occasion is the military lifestyle dictates that something relating to it and holidays will have to be sacrificed on the altar of duty and honor. From deployments to schools to training exercises, many things take our service members away just when we think we need them the very most.

Among civilian wives I’ve often heard the refrain “Oh I could NEVER do it.” But that’s not true at all, is it? We often feel like we can’t do it either. Military spouses don’t do it because we enjoy spending special times away from the one that we love—we do it because we have to. We learn how to focus on the good and downplay the bad. We learn that special times are truly special because of our families-and the years we do get to be together are even sweeter because of it. We learn that’s sometimes—it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to cry, and it’s ok for holiday’s to not be perfect-because no day ever really is perfect. We learn how to balance our emotions with still creating a sense of joy and magic for our children. We learn how to get them excited about celebrating TWO Christmases instead of bemoaning the fact that we might not celebrate with Daddy exactly on December 25th.

That is what I have always loved, admired, and been inspired by in the military spouse community. Being put in these kinds of situations can and should cause you to reach out to others, grow and mature beyond your means, and focus in on the true meanings rather than any of the drama.

From my family, to yours—Merry Christmas!

Nicole Elliott has been a Coast Guard spouse for 7 ½ years and lived up and down the East Coast. She stays busy as a work at home mom and blogger and has two adorable kids.