The last Christmas I spent without Chris was our first one as a married man and wife. I'm pretty sure most people know the story of how we got married 3 weeks before he ran away to Iraq the first time around. I was living in GA with my family, and we had a crazy cross country trip of a wedding and semi-honeymoon. That Christmas was also the last one I spent with my blood relatives.
Since then, I've adopted the traditions of Chris' family. My family doesn't really have many of those, short of eating delicious food all together, of course. My family does food and togetherness more than anything else. Not that we're a negligent bunch or anything. I'm just the youngest of six, so when I got older, the kids part of Christmas (meaning the fun part, of course) went by the wayside. When I married Chris, however, four of the five of his siblings were still minors living at home. Which is really weird, now that I think about it. All but one is out now and is or has been married and have children. Anyway, I digress. My point is they have traditions, and I've adopted them, or rather I have been adopted into them.
I generally take change pretty well. I've always been adaptable and just roll with it. But this year, I'm realizing how much these traditions mean to me. Since Chris is gone, I feel myself clinging to the familiarity of Christmas. But it's also not quite the same this year, not only because of Chris, but because his parents and brother are living on the other side of the country until next summer. Chris' other siblings and I are, of course, doing Christmas things together. But it doesn't feel the same. I feel lonely for a Christmas I know. For a Christmas with my husband home with me. For a Christmas together.
He'll be home next Christmas. And we'll have even more family by then. I look forward to that. But I also lament that he won't be home this year for Ben's first Christmas that he'll actually be aware that *something* is happening. It's the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most difficult when you're the wife of a deployed soldier...