Merry belated Christmas :)
I wrote out a super long blog but then decided it was too long for even me to read so here’s the shortened version.
Christmas with Seth away was much much harder for me than I was expecting. It still hadn’t fully hit me that he wouldn’t be home this Christmas until early evening on Christmas Eve, when I was headed to his parent’s house for their annual Christmas Eve party. My sister went with me and we were listening to the radio and John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War is Over) song came on. I asked if she knew the title; she didn’t know about the War Is Over part of it and then when I told her, it all hit me. I tried really hard to fight back the tears, and was pretty damn successful. But it was then that I realized that he really wasn’t going to be home, and he was indeed on the other side of the world and this was our first Christmas being separated. We got to his parent’s house and we had a really fun time. We played BuzzWord and it’s an awesome game. I highly recommend it. In the middle of the game, I got a text from Seth. It said, “Merry Christmas, Love. It’s the future for me. Love you.” I called a time out in the game and I said, “I have an announcement to make. Seth said Merry Christmas because he’s in the future.” His mom got a kick out of the “because he’s in the future” part. Everyone said to tell him Merry Christmas too, and we sent a few more texts back and forth. We put the cookies and milk out with the nieces and nephews before they went to bed. After they were tucked in bed and it was safe, Seth’s sister Stacey drank all the milk and we put the cookies back in the cookie bag. (So THAT’S how it’s done, parents?!?!)
On the way back to my parents house, I was sleepy, cold, lonely and just sad that I was driving all alone, when the last two Christmases I was doing this drive with Seth. I couldn’t find a radio station that wasn’t playing Christmas music (and of course I had a Christmas music CD in the CD player) and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” came on and I lost it. It was dark out and I was bawling my eyes out. Ideal driving conditions, let me tell you. At least the roads were clear, so that was good. I was crying pretty hard by this time and was telling myself to stop being a baby, he’ll be home in not a long time, he wouldn’t want me to cry and to suck it up. I got pissed so I slammed the radio button off and just drove in silence
listening to myself cry. Awesome. Then I remembered one of the two Christmas cards that I got him. I went the funny route instead of the sad-because-we’re-apart-gushy route. One of the cards I got him said something, like, “you better not shout, you better not cry…” then on the inside of the card, it said, “Because Santa doesn’t like pussies.” I wrote on there that I really got the card as a reminder to myself, but I was sending it to him so he knew I was trying to be tough. After I turned off the radio, I said to myself, OUTLOUD: “Santa doesn’t like pussies” and then I cried even more because I was being a sad baby.
I got home with red, puffy eyes and a red nose and I really just wanted to crawl into bed, but my brother was home, so I hung out with them. We got into a discussion about when we’d do presents at my parent’s house, because I needed to leave there by about 8:45 to get to my in-law’s at 9 for breakfast and then gifts at 10. My sister threw a hissy fit and made some pissy comment about how I was going to be gone on Christmas day to go over to their house and blah blah blah. I was already on the verge of tears. I told them I didn’t care when they opened their gifts (I was the kid that always got up at 4 AM to open gifts, waking up everyone else in the house so I didn’t have to wait). I told her I needed to be at their house at a certain time, they could open their presents with or without me, in the morning or the afternoon, I didn’t care, but I had a strict time schedule in the morning. We never came to a conclusion and I went to bed pissed off because she was making it even more difficult for me. I got up on Christmas morning at 7:45 and quickly hopped in the shower. I thought I’d be up a little earlier than that, so I rushed to get ready. By the time I got out of the dumb shower, everyone was up and telling ME to hurry up so we could open gifts. Ughhhh they were really annoying me. I rushed through opening my gifts, shoved them all in the bedroom and then finished getting ready.
I called Seth when I got in the car, and lost it again. I tried not to talk too much, because he can tell in my voice when I’m crying, and I was TRYING SO HARD to be strong, but clearly I was failing. So when I’m crying, I just don’t talk, and it was sort of an awkward phone conversation because I am pretty sure he could sense I was crying, but neither one of us wanted to admit it. Haha I said I was going to his parent’s house and then my voice started to crack and then the tears started flowing freely and there was no hiding it then. However, I still tried. He said, in his so sweet voice, “awww babe. Are you crying?” I told him that I wasn’t crying, I was fine, all while literally sobbing. He then proceeded to call me a liar and then he reminded me that “Santa doesn’t like pussies.” Haha that’s love right there. This made me laugh and then I was laughing and crying and driving. He said something about how it might be embarrassing to show up at his parent’s house with a bright red nose, and puffy eyes. Valid point. Trust me, I wish I didn’t cry so easily. So we were talking about where I was driving, what part of the road, so he could estimate how much longer I had to get my non-crying face on before I got to his family. Basically I didn’t have enough time. The phone cut out and I called him back and he said he was going to hop in the shower and he’d call me after he was in bed. I drove past his parent’s house to buy myself a little bit more time of not looking like I’d been crying, but then said screw it, I was already late, I needed to get there and sucked it up and pulled into their driveway. His brothers came out of the back door, literally as I was parking and I thought, “oh how nice, they’re here to help me carry in the presents.” Hahaah nope, they were getting ready to hop in the car to go find a store open to get some orange juice. Haha I still asked them to help me carry in the presents and they were nice about it. (BTW, no stores were open on Christmas morning in the town, so they never got their orange juice). I still had a red and puffy nose and eyes as I walked in and hugged the family. Oh well, no one asked about it. I figured they’d know anyways. Seth called me a little while later and we passed the phone around and he talked to most of the family. I helped his mom and sister get the webcam set up so we could get his other sister in Atlanta on the webcam since she’s 8.5 months pregnant and can’t fly right now. Skype was being lame, so I suggested gmail webcamming since that’s what we use, and after a few minutes of installing that, we got it to work. I overheard Seth talking to his Marine brother (Shane) on the phone and then after they got off the phone, I was talking to Shane and he said Marine’s aren’t allowed to have cell phones over there. They have to use the call centers and especially on a major holiday like Christmas, he said the lines would be 3-4 hours long, for a 20 minute phone call. This made me extremely thankful that my love is in the Army, not the Marines, because that would be very difficult for me. He was very surprised that Seth is able to call me whenever he wants, and I can call him too, whenever I want. Seth called again when we were getting ready to open gifts and we talked for a few minutes and I didn’t realize that he wanted to be on the phone when his mom and Shane opened their gifts. He sent me a text message that literally broke my heart. He said, “I wanted mom and Shane to open their gifts. Dammit. Now I’ll miss it. Oh well I guess. It just feels like another Saturday to me anyways. Goodnight love.” I felt soooo bad. I called another time out during gift opening and said that I was going to call him so his mom and Shane could open their gifts but he said no, it was ok, he was just going to go to bed. I felt like a major jerkface and I should have known that he wanted to be on the phone when they opened the presents. Both gifts were his idea, and great ideas at that. I try to put myself in his boots for times like that and wonder if I’d want to hear the excitement of Christmas gifts being opened, and hearing what I’m missing or if I just wouldn’t want to hear the excitement because it would make me sad that I couldn’t be there, knowing what I was missing out on. I never come to a conclusion because neither sounds fun to me. I’ve made a permanent note to myself about this, for future reference if we ever spend Christmas apart again. Hopefully we won’t, but hey, it’s the Army and the odds are pretty great that we will. (Shane was my secret Santa partner and he got me a USMC hoodie. I felt like a traitor wearing it!!!)
Anyways, the rest of the day went well-ish. I cried again when we all sat down for dinner. I thought it’d be a good idea if we read The Soldier’s Christmas poem, before we ate. We had 16 people at dinner and there are 21 little paragraphs or stanzas or whatever they’re called, so I figured we’d go around the table and each read one, and then the first few people would double up to finish the poem. My dad said a nice opening to the poem…and I was bawling before we even began. When I was supposed to read my little part, I read the first two lines and then literally started crying hysterically. Sweet memories, let me tell you. I somehow managed to say the rest, but it wasn’t easy. The younger girls sitting across from me were crying too and neither wanted to read, so I read their parts too, through lots of tears and sobs.
After dinner, the younger girls opened their gifts. These girls LOVE my sister and me. It’s really cute. When they were over for Thanksgiving, they were asking all about my sister, where she was at, what she’s up to, why she wasn’t there, etc. They followed us around all day on Christmas, asking us all sorts of questions, asking about things that we must have told them a few years ago, things we didn’t even remember. For example, they haven’t seen my sister since Thanksgiving 2008, I think. Apparently my sister made a comment to them then that she could put her leg behind her head?? When we were eating dinner, they asked my sister, “can you still put your leg behind your head?” My sister and I looked at each other and started laughing and we both said, “how did you know that?!” They said apparently we told them that once upon a time. They said they wanted to sit by us at Christmas dinner, and they picked out our seats, next to them, for us. Anyways, the girls were opening their gifts and the older one said out loud to no one in particular, “this may have been the best Christmas ever.” It was really sweet and genuine and I was happy that I was able to help make Christmas “the best ever” for them, even if it wasn’t for me.
Ok, well that turned out way longer than expected, so sorry to take up so much of your time. Really – sorry, you probably have better things to be doing, but if you stayed through that whole thing, congrats to you!!