I will be spending Christmas alone this year. Believe it or not, this won't be my first Christmas spent alone either. This year, I have my 4-year-old son to celebrate with and I've really enjoyed watching the holiday festivities through his eyes. My husband will also be spending this holiday season alone, though he will be surrounded by hundreds of other sailors on his ship. You see, he's in the Navy and he's also currently deployed. It's not an ideal situation but deployment never is, regardless of which celebrations will or will not be missed.
I've been fortunate enough to make friends through Stroller Strides and these are not just transitional friendships, because quite honestly, none of my friendships are. Having been married to a member of the military for the past 7 years has brought me all over the country while it's brought him all over the world. When my son and I took an 8-month-long cross-country road trip during my husband's last deployment, we stayed with friends and family the entire time, across the entire United States. So in other words, I make friends for life. I have the resilient lifestyle of the military to thank for that.
Being in this position, it's very easy to get depressed, to feel like you're all alone, especially during the winter holidays. Trust me, I've been there. The difference is all in you though. Choose happiness. Sometimes that means stepping outside of your comfort zone to surround yourself with people you enjoy spending time with. For others it might mean concentrating on a career or the children at home. I'm a very active person, so when Stroller Strides found me, it was the perfect time in my life to embrace that something new and unexpected. I have them to thank for all of the amazing friends in my life right now. Many of them are also military families, going through the same struggles as myself.
Just a few days ago, I texted all of my girlfriends that I needed someone to watch my son so that I could make a visit to urgent care for myself. They rallied together and immediately helped me out to ensure that my son was taken care of and that I had everything I needed. Later that day we decided we really needed to plan a group dinner before several friends took off for the holidays out of town. I offered to host, since I was already feeling better, with their help. Monday night we celebrated an early Christmas dinner together in my home and it could not have felt more like a real Christmas celebration back home with my family. The kids ran around and played together. The food was plentiful. The laughter was contagious. These girls are my family. That's the beauty of the military lifestyle too - friends become family.
Sure, I'll still be spending Christmas alone, but not really. I'll have my son. I'll have a handful of friends. I have to remind myself of that. It's not an easy thing to do, but the alternative, to suffer in quiet sadness, is so much worse. This holiday season, regardless of how many or how few people you will be surrounded by, do something to make yourself happy. For me, that means getting outside, cooking for my blog, or playing Hungry Hungry Hippo with my son. What makes you happy? Whatever it is, go do it!