It’s that time of year again when the holidays are rapidly approaching. They are especially difficult if your spouse is deployed and you have children who have expectations. When they are younger it is easier as they don’t know it is a holiday.
The first Thanksgiving my husband was deployed my sons were two and three years old. My Mother came to visit which was nice but when it came time for Thanksgiving neither of us felt like making the effort. In my family Thanksgiving is an extravaganza, with ham and turkey and so many side dishes the table is covered. It is finished off with signature dishes like my pecan pie and my mother’s pumpkin chiffon pie. All is this is served on the good china with freshly polished silver. Obviously, that was too much cooking for two. Not wanting to go out to eat we opted for the Cracker Barrel which had take out meals on Thanksgiving. They offered plates with all the Thanksgiving favorites, so we ordered two and I ran over to pick them up. It was heaven. Just the right size and no cooking.
Sometimes during deployments, I just wouldn’t want to be around anyone during the holidays whereas other times I was feeling more social and wanted to be around people. In that case a Thanksgiving Potluck is in order. Get together with others in your boat and join for a nice meal. Many of the neighborhoods on military installations have community centers which you can use. Some even have playgrounds for the kids. Decide how everyone is going to participate and plan what everyone is to bring. I like to use www.perfectpotluck.com. You can set up a meal and decide what you need everything from food and drinks to plates and utensils. You then blast it out to all you want to attend in one email. Then everyone can sign up and see what others are bringing so there isn’t any repetition. Consider asking for people to chip in for a big turkey (you can even put a donation as something to bring to cover cost of turkey). Make sure to consider cleanup. Oftentimes everyone heads out leaving one or two people to handle the mess. Be considerate and help.
During deployments it can be hard when your civilian friends and family are celebrating so getting together with your military family makes sense as they totally understand what you are going through. How do you handle the holidays when your spouse is deployed?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com