Christmas vacation started and I loaded the kids into the van for the 10 hour drive to see dad. Instead of him coming home, we would be spending Christmas in his barracks on base.
I packed the coolers, crockpot, and electric frying pan along with the few gifts I has purchased and pillows and blankets for everyone into the van. Sean’s room was average-size like a hotel room, with one full bed, a table and chairs, dorm fridge, microwave, and bathroom. He did not have TV, but had a laptop for watching DVDs. We brought an assortment of board games to help keep everyone entertained. We bought groceries upon arrival and stocked the mini-fridge and coolers.
Since I had done minimal Christmas shopping, saving the bulk to do with Sean, we travelled to a nearby town with a mall for the day. We gave the kids some cash and ditched them so we could buy their gifts. It felt wonderful to have Sean shopping with me as I remembered the previous year shopping with my FRG friends. This year I wouldn’t have to email Sean a list of what we had bought for everyone, he was there to help pick it all out.
We smuggled the gifts home in the van with strict “no peeking” rules and then banned the kids from the room while we wrapped them. Not much to do, they hung out in the parking lot and kept knocking on the door to see if we were done.
No room for a Christmas tree, so K colored one for us and taped it to the table where the presents were stacked. We played Scrabble, Uno, and Monopoly. Although it was cramped and the kids complained about sleeping on the floor, it was great to be together.
Christmas Eve we did more shopping at the PX. Then we returned to the room to watch a movie and later open gifts.
Christmas Day we got up to see what Santa had left–MP3 players all around. We went to lunch at an Irish Pub in the next town. This is a topic of some tension…I had suggested that Sean check available restaurants for Christmas Day dining…he assured me that the Cracker Barrel was open…I checked when we arrived, and sure enough unless we wanted Chinese food ala “A Christmas Story” there were no restaurants open…until Sean hit upon Paddy something-or-other. The food was ok, not good, but ok, and three of us ended up with stomach issues later that afternoon. That meant three of us competing with Sean for the one bathroom. The kids have henceforth referred to it as “Paddy McFaddy’s.” We showered early, put on our pj’s and played games the rest of the evening.
One more time we left Sean behind as we headed for home. A home where he wanted to be. A home where I wanted him with me. I cannot imagine it from his point of view, staying behind, but from mine, it sucked. One more trip of crying, and kids crying and fighting. I felt despair. How would I ever get my husband home? Were our lives going to forever be this series of coming together and tearing apart?
I left my Christmas spirit somewhere along the road.
Talking about the trip to Washington D.C.
Christmas MorningChristmas DayA Game of UNO