These are the good ol' days

So much to do today. Take the car to the insurance co, pick up a couple more gifts, and run by the bank. Then home to wrap, wrap, and uh, oh yeah...wrap.

We leave tomorrow to go to Indiana and visit our family. We so rarely get in this time of year. For many years with the Air Force we lived too far to make the trip and we are committed to being in our own home for Christmas so over and back in a couple days.

Christmas is a magical time. The house is neat and lovely and I am filled with joy, peace and love.

It was only 6 yrs ago though that I decorated and prepared for Christmas without DH. DH was deployed to Qatar that year. Following 9/11 he was sent to prepare and build up that base in Operation Enduring Freedom. We did not know then that the base would serve later as a major command post for the invasion of Iraq. He helped to equip and establish a hospital that is still caring for our wounded. (Thanks, honey)

The base has barracks now and many other facilities, very civilized. When DH was there it was a tent city in the sand. It was a difficult Christmas in 2001, missing him and worrying for his safety.

I remember that was the year I stopped getting real trees. I had to get the tree, haul it, strap it down, unload it, give it a fresh cut, all by myself!! It had always looked so easy watching DH do it. Turns out, not so easy.

It dried up and fell apart after a week or so. I dragged it out with the lights on it and tossed it in the trash, bought an artificial tree and we haven't had a real tree since.

I missed his help with the shopping, and of course the tree. I missed cooking for him and how much he enjoys the holiday meals and treats I offer. But more than anything I missed his presence. I missed curling up with him on the couch with my head nuzzled in his chest. I missed watching our Christmas movie, Holiday Inn, after the kids go to bed. I just missed him. I missed the larger than life smile on his face as he watches our children on Christmas morning. I missed the big kid in him playing with the little kids on the floor all day long.

I'm now more mindful, always mindful that the ones we love are gifts, precious, precious gifts and we have no guarantee they will be with us from one year to the next, one day to the next. We don't know what might take them away. We lost DH's grandmother, Boots, this year. We never know when it's our last hug, our last moment, our last Christmas. Maybe we should always treat our loved ones as if it is the last time we will see them?

As you begin celebrations this year, hug everyone a little tighter and hold on a little longer. Soak up every moment. Even when the kids are bickering, and dad is wrestling a toy to the ground that has instructions in Japanese. These are the good ol' days. These are the days we will look back on with misty eyes and long to recapture.

Enjoy this weekend every moment that lends up to the holiday!


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