A package arrived yesterday, covered in footprints and a rainbow of hands, and for just a moment my heart sank thinking that one of his packages had not made it to him. But then I realized that he had sent us a package and I called Logan over to help open it. And there it was, Logan took it and we sat down and opened the cover.
"Twas the Night before Christmas, and all through the house..." C's voice came through the book as Logan turned the pages, pointing to the pictures and talking more and more.
"Santa!" he said, pointing to the rosy cheeks and snow-white beard. "Presents!" he screeched as he pointed to the over-filled sack.
C would have loved to have seen that. I couldn't stop thinking of how much he would have loved to hear him say, "Santa!"
This is the first year that Logan has any understanding of Christmas. He gets so very excited about the lights on the tree and on the houses and even on people's cars. He smiled as he sat in Santa's lap and told him how much he wanted a Buzz Lightyear for Christmas. He showed Santa his little brother and high-fived him as we left. He enjoys the Christmas Train in the mall and the music and the excitement. It is so wonderful to see.
And C is missing it.
This may be one of the hardest times for Military Families to be separated from their loved ones. During a time when it is so very important to be around family, we do not get to hold onto the one person closest to us, dearest to us. It is so very difficult.
I love that Logan is understanding Christmas in a way that he never has before. He wouldn't even open presents last year - he just watched everyone else. I love that he is excited and loving everything that is happening around him. I love how much he is loving this holiday. But I hate that C is not here to share in that with me. I want to take these moments and preserve each one so that he can experience it, so that he can know this time, so that he can feel the same happiness that it brings me. And it is so very frustrating that I cannot do that. It is so very frustrating that the first Christmas that his first son really recognizes, he will not know.
So this week is hard. Seeing the joy in my son's face always brings with it a tinge of sadness because C does not get to see it. I wish more than anything that I could bottle it all up for him, save it, hold onto it, so that he can see it. But we do not get to.
So I will smile for our boys, I will video whatever I can, I will hold them and laugh with them and treasure them with everything that exists within me.
I will laugh when Eli chews on a santa hat and smile my biggest smile when Logan jumps up and down when Santa brings him that massive Buzz Lightyear that I know he will love. I will continue through another day, giving the most of me to our children, because at the end of it, another day has past. At the end of this day, we will be one less day away from when he comes home to share in the joy. That day, will be an amazing day.
Merry Christmas to those so very near and to the many so very far away.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.