Growing up as a Brat, whether Army, Navy or Air Force you never knew quite when Christmas would come.
That goes for Thanksgiving and birthdays and all the other “family” holidays. In Germany the three squadrons at Hahn Airbase rotated through the holidays. You could bet that you would be in Turkey or Spain for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Through the year, exercises, twelve hour shifts and week end duty crushed birthday parties. We celebrated when we could. We called them “Militarily Adjusted Holidays”. That meant Thanksgiving in October or December. Christmas was whenever the tree went up. I’m not sure the boys knew when their birthday was until they were grown up. To this day, I have to write down Tim’s birthday because he was born on November 2, or was it 4. Let me look that up.
1985 was rough for us. On Halloween we didn’t have a place to live. We had orders to Germany and were in temporary quarters scheduled to move on 1 November. We suited up the boys and took them Trick or Treated the Officer country at Laughlin AFB. We ended up with a back pack full of candy. We had Thanksgiving at the in-laws. When we got to Hahn Airbase, West Germany I had exactly two weeks to get a car, find a house and fill it with our furniture before Santa showed up. Success! We didn’t have heat or a fridge, but we had a Christmas tree.
My Grandson will celebrating his First Christmas this year and his Mommy is in a Tizzy. Daddy has to work. I might point out that at least Daddy is in the same city and State. When he had his First Christmas, Daddy was in South Korea 5000 miles away. I missed his first Halloween, First Thanksgiving and First Birthday. We have no picture of these events because Mommy didn’t know how to crop her boyfriend out of the pictures. I did celebrate his First Christmas but Mommy left to be with her boyfriend for New Year’s and didn’t come back for four days.
Honey, things could be way worse.
The Military is not the only profession to suffer through “Adjusted Holidays”. Police, Fire and anyone who works at a hospital knows that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just suggested family holidays. Don’t even discuss Retail. To this day, at the Holidays I feel a little guilty not being on duty at Radio Shack and just a little awkward being on the other side of the counter.
So How do you Cope?
In the Submarine Service they say that when the Boat puts to sea it’s a divorce every six months. Successful couples celebrate a Honeymoon every six months. It’s all in the attitude. So if Daddy (or Mommy) is not there for the Holiday, wait until they get back so that they could be in the pictures and enjoy a Holiday with their family.