Ah, the holidays are upon us. Give me a second, and I’ll tuck away my inner-Grinch. Yeah, okay, he’s put away. Nice boy.
Okay, so Thanksgiving hit me like a ton of bricks. This isn’t my first Thanksgiving sans Jason, or my first away from home, but this time, it felt like I had been stripped raw, bare. By the time Wednesday came around I was pretty much rolling around in a giant cloud of self-pity and this scene:
Yeah, that actually pretty much happened. All I could think was, “if this is how I feel at Thanksgiving, how am I going to make it through Christmas?”
I’m exhausted. I’m beat down in just about every way freaking humanly possible until what’s left of me is hardly recognizable. That’s the truth.
But Wednesday night rolls around, and while I’ve been insisting on some hermit time, a friend of mine asks me over for Thanksgiving, and another friend comes too, and then another.
Sitting at that table, I couldn’t help but think of what I’m grateful for. You see, this deployment has chewed me up, spit me out, and left me reevaluating everything I know, but this moment? Well, I’m happy. Happy because it hits me: I still have great friends up here, just some of the roles have changed, and some haven’t. And suddenly, my attitude just… evolved.
I know the key to being happy is being thankful. For concentrating on the multitude of blessings we have instead of focusing on what we’re lacking, or what we’ve lost. So I choose happiness, and thankfulness, and general badassery. Yup, that’s not a real word, but I used it.
So anyway, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I kind of get another smack down last night before Aidan’s birthday party: another reminder of how things have changed up here in my life, and my heart breaks all over again. But instead of breaking down, this time I pick myself up and remember to be grateful for what I have, and it doesn’t hurt quite as badly. I totally distracted myself from my own pain. Score.
Plan Concentrate On Gratitude is working. Oh, but wait, Christmas is upon us. Now, I have to admit, with Jason deployed, I look around at our non-deployed neighbors and friends and they’re all:
And I’m over here like:
And then I smack myself upside the head. Because didn’t I just say I was choosing happiness and general badassery? That means there’s no moping allowed that it’s Christmas and Jason is gone, and … stopping that train of thought right THERE.
So what do I usually do to kick myself out of a funk? I think of something nice I can do for someone else, because if I’m concentrating on how to help someone else, I’m not focused on the craptastic time we’re having over here.
Oh, did I mention my kids’ Christmas list? Aaron walked in the kitchen with Aidan and says, “yeah, I’m getting that (insanely expensive gift) for Christmas,” and I’m all:
And I say, “don’t you mean you asked for that?” And he replies with, “Yeah, but I’ll get it.”
Yeah. I have half a mind to take their lists, shred them, and use them for composting, or whatever. However, I also know that he’s 10, and it’s not my job as a parent to destroy his Christmas, but it IS my job to make him truly understand the meaning of it, far deeper than, “Yeah, it’s Jesus’s birthday.” Sigh.
So here we go.
This year, we’re counting to Christmas a little differently. Sure, they still have the chocolate advent calendars, because I’m secretly 5 years-old at heart, but we’ll be doing something much sweeter with our time.
Welcome to our Christmas Acts of Kindness. This is kind of like my birthday acts of kindness
, except we’re doing them as a family, one-a-day until Christmas. Why? Because when I was coming up with 32 acts for my birthday, I saw how my thoughts changed. I stopped focusing on me, on this deployment (he left 11 days after my birthday), and I started to see how many opportunities there were around me for kindness. It changed me – and I like it.
Why am I telling you this? It’s not for recognition; even though we’re keeping them anonymous, I’m sure some of you might find yourselves as the recipients of this fun. No, I’m telling you this because I watch the blog numbers. I know how many of you read these posts, and I’m hoping, even if it’s the simplest thing, that you’ll join us for a day or two and perform your own acts of kindness.
Fun fact: when I told my sister about this, she already had the same idea. Without planning it together, we’re both on that same path. See, kindness is all around us.
So, in the month of December, I’m coming at you EVERY DAY, telling you what we’ve done that day as our Act, no matter how big or how small, and my hope is that you’ll jump in with your own. Leave me a comment, a thread, a thought, because it’s the season peeps! And even if you’re not all about the religious base of this holiday (which we are, but we’re cool with all sorts of peeps), then just think:
So you’d better make sure your name is on the nice list. 😉
So what am I thankful for today? This circus-insane family we’re building and the love both Jason and I have for it, and each other, that holds us together even 6,000 miles apart. There’s simply no greater joy than snuggling these kids… well, there is that first five minutes of quiet after they all go go sleep… that’s pretty joyous too. 😉
And what was our Act of Kindness? Cupcakes. Today was Aidan’s birthday party, so we bought (that’s right peeps, I’m so not-awesome that I didn’t MAKE) cupcakes, and I made sure we bought a ton extra. Then we took them to the lovely couple that owns the concession stand at the rink, because they’re amazing. They were some of the first people to notice that Little Miss Pumpkin had arrived, and they’ve watched our boys come up through hockey for the last three years. They’re kind, and they deserved a little kindness. It was super simple to give it to them, and the smile and thanks we got? That definitely put a little fuel in my kindness tank. Then we gave a box to the guy who sharpens the skates too, just because.
So Day One? It’s Family and Cupcakes. Tomorrow? Well… that’s a whole other day to see the amazing chances all around us to be kind.
Happy December, you guys, and to the girls I spent Thanksgiving with? Thank you. You guys saved me, whether or not you realized it. Milspouses amaze me, and you guys are absolutely the proof.