As we were driving home today, our three kiddos started talking about family togetherness and Christmas. The conversation went something like this:
Andrew: You know what? I think the best part of Christmas is being together as a family.
Mariah: mmHmm, I agree.
Corey: I agree, too.
Me: I couldn't agree with you more, Andrew.
So, all the kids agree that being together as a family during Christmastime is very important to them. What breaks my heart is that this Christmas we won't be a complete family ... again.
Andrew: Remember that one Christmas where dad was gone and we opened two gifts on Christmas Eve and then three gifts on Christmas day, and all the rest were saved for when dad got home in January? That was a lot fun!
**I'd just like to say that we picked dad up at 1:30 a.m. and dad okayed them opening up presents after we got to the house. This meant we didn't go to bed until 5 a.m!!**
Mariah and Corey: I remember that.
Me: Yep, I remember that, Andrew. Those two gifts came from the squadron.
Mariah: I don't like that dad isn't going to be here, again.
Andrew: Me, neither.
Mariah: Even if we get to see dad on Skype, it's not the same. We can't hug him or anything.
You wanna know how hard I was pushing my tongue to the roof of my mouth to divert those watery particles from coming out of my eyes?! H.A.R.D!
Mariah: I wish dad didn't have to be gone during any holidays.
Me: I understand. I feel the same way you do. He'll be home soon after Christmas. And then we'll have our own FAMILY Christmas. <--- yes, I was talking in a very light, happy, and joyful tone to ligthen the mood. *sigh* I think it worked.
Soon to me is however long you want to make it. GRANTED, in reality soon means soon -- not too long and not too quick. Just right. When you have a loved one deployed, soon takes on a whole new meaning. Soon means soon ... that we don't look at the BIG picture. If we did, then it would be too long. We take each day at a time. Now with each passing day, daddy coming home now means "he'll be home soon".
At times it does become too hard to be so positive, encouraging, and uplifting ... especially when you're talking to children who 1. Completely understand what's going on. 2. Nothing you say will make them feel any better because that "missing dad" feeling does not go away until dad comes home. 3. I retract the beginning of my comment in number 2. because as I recall, Mariah said some very encouraging words in Heart.Breaking.Reality.
God always gives you the strength to be able to comfort your children, even when all you want to do is bawl your eyes out. Where God has given you comfort, it makes it easier to comfort others.“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).