As I spend this Christmas with my husband away in Iraq, I try to stay focused on the positive. The kids. Our future. Our family and friends who have been so supportive. But I admit, it's hard. There are moments of loneliness that seem unbearable, especially at this time of year. I didn't think it would feel this way; I have worked most major holidays in the ER, including Christmas. But I simply didn't factor in all the "other". The days leading up to Christmas, the crafty projects, the baking, the Christmas tree. All the other stuff we do together during the holidays.
I am constantly dazzled by our children. They miss their dad so much! But they are still so excited for Christmas. Somehow they manage not to dwell on Dad not being her, but on the season. Each has lovingly made me Christmas tree ornaments. Each has unselfishly shopped for the other. My little Abby skips through the house singing 'Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer' incessantly. Her version starts out with "You know Dasher and ummm Dasher and Comet and Dasher. La la and la la and ummm la la and Dasher"....doesn't matter how many times we sing it together, she never remembers the other reindeer!
Both wrote their wishlists and put them in our (unused) fireplace. We started this last year in California; I don't remember why, but that's where the wishlist for Santa goes.
Last week I planned to take the kids to see Santa at Toys R Us. I wanted to avoid the hassle of the mall Santa. Buy OUR photos only! Buy a special button ornament with your child's pictures! No personal cameras allowed! Lines form here! (at other end of mall, of course) Screaming babies everywhere! (including mine?)
When I told the kids of the plan, Abby was excited. Couldn't wait to see Santa!
However, Owen was concerned. He pulled me aside.
OWEN: "Mom. You know that's NOT Santa."
*Insert frazzled Mom here* Does he KNOW?
ME: (nonchalant) "What honey?" (smooth!)
OWEN: "That's not the real Santa. The REAL Santa can't be everywhere. Even those guys at the mall aren't Santa."
ME: (in a hushed voice) "Ok, Owen. You're right. But I am going to tell you a secret. And you can't tell Abby! The Santa you see today is actually one of Santa's helpers. Since Santa can't be everywhere at once and he still has so much work to do, he relies on Santa helpers. Everything you tell this Santa will get back to Santa. He'll know what you'd like for Christmas. But really, you can't tell your sister. She still thinks it's the real Santa and I don't want her to be upset."
*Insert lightbulb image above Owen's head here*
OWEN: "Oh! That makes sense! I won't tell Abby. I promise."
When we finally went to Toys R Us, Santa was there and he was perfect. Jolly, round, rosy-cheeked, kind. Abby was enamored with Jeffrey the Giraffe who was also there. Owen hugged Santa. I saw him whisper into Santa's ear and then look at me. Owen gave me a wink. I knew our 'secret' was safe.
One more year of magic for Owen with the belief of Santa. When you know that the idea of Santa seems unlikely but you want so badly to believe. When reality and magic don't necessarily have to be enemies. My heart breaks when I realize that next year he most likely won't believe, but I know he'll wish it were real. I know I do.
Welcome to the Wandering Drays!
Not all who wander are lost...
Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.