I love holidays. I celebrate them all; Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Bastille Day, Halloween, Twelfth Night, Oktoberfest, Fiesta (yes, we were stationed in San Antonio) - the list is just too long to include.
Yes, my dears, we do darn well celebrate Bastille Day. The kids and I eat French food and speak in french accents all day (my personal fluency in French has vastly deteriorated in the ten years I haven't bothered to really speak the language). We also build a Lego castle and knock down the walls. Which is really fun and makes me a heck of a lot less frustrated during that particular day of a deployment.
One of my favorite military family tendencies is the tendency to adopt the food, celebrations, and parts of the culture where ever we are stationed and take them with us when we move.
Of course, as with any military family, we run the risk of Air Force Guy being gone during the celebrations. And that can be a big problem in our major holidays like Halloween and Christmas (yes, Halloween is one of our major holidays). It COULD be a big problem, and it is certainly irritating, but we've figured out a way around it.
We just celebrate the holidays when he gets back. And another nice side benefit of adopting the celebrations everywhere we go is that AFG is guaranteed to be home for something fun that requires special food, special actions, and a celebration no matter where is he or when he is gone. It also makes packing CARE packages much easier.
I know that in talking about the missed holidays, I get to sounding very "rah rah yay team" on the whole deployment issue. And I'm not. Every missed Halloween (and AFG misses nearly EVERY Halloween we've ever experienced as a family) finds me fighting back the tears as I realize he will not see those costumes that I worked for two months on in person. He will not steal pieces of candy from the kids' buckets (although we do send him some, it is just not the same thing). When he misses Thanksgiving and our tradition of too much food (Chinese food, for the record) and decorating the house for Christmas, I have to fight melancholy. It stinks. It really does.
But the other day as the kids and I were going through photo albums, we were commenting on photos of celebrations done at "off times". I noticed that it was those very "off time" celebrations were the ones my children remembered most. Christmas in May is a novelty - and it was all the more special.
If there's one thing a military family learns early, it is how to treasure special moments.
Whenever they come.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone! I'll have some corned beef and colchannon for you!