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Sunday, November 27, 2011


Santa Claus.  Well, he used to start appearing just after Thanksgiving in the local mall when I was a kid.  We have plenty of pictures of  my brother and sister and me in matching outfits, frilly socks for Britt and me, clip-on tie for Nick.  Britt always wore braids.  I was the cute one in the middle ;)

I think Santa was at Dillard's back in the day (or another major department store).  As you entered the area to line up, it was a magical, makeshift hallway with Christmas figures and decorations.  I don't mean just a little.  A lot.  It was fake, white, puffy snow, white and silver glitter, white lights, Rudolph, carolers, evergreens all through this very loooong hallway where the line winded and winded and winded...until finally, after ooooing and aahhhing the whole way,  you came to the front where the man of the hour was sitting.  There were elves, presents, candy canes.  I was a very shy kid, but I am not sure any child could resist the grand finale of sitting on Santa's lap after all of that hype.  You know what happened from there.  I told Santa what I wanted, received my obligatory candy cane, and off we went. 

Santa is different these days.  He sits in the middle of the mall, amid the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers, at the end of a long, boring, no frills line.  I think I brought Zac to see Santa when he was little only because I felt I was supposed to as a new mom.  That was the last time.  It's not because the "magic" is not there (or because those pictures cost and arm and a leg).   It's because my shy kids might stroke out if I would actually make them sit on Santa's lap.  Year after year, I see pictures of kids screaming on this giant, scary man's lap.  I just don't see the point.  Who knows, maybe one day I'll look back and wish I had those kinds of pics.  Actually, as I think this, I imagine the petrified kids I would see in those photos.  I imagine what a cat looks like when you try to put it in a bathtub.

So here we are.  Another Christmas.  With Catie growing up and noticing more around her, it's a different Christmas experience.  Santa is everywhere now.  Today it was WalMart.  No longer do I have the option of quickly shuffling past Santa.  Catie stops, pivots, gasps, and is on Santa's lap before I can notice where she went.  Abby, to my right, whispers, "I don't want to go, " as she quickly shakes her head. 

Last week, we had a visit with Santa while visiting my mom.  It was a Country Christmas (a week before Thanksgiving and 87 degrees).  We were some of the first in line, and Santa was in a great, big, magical sleigh.  Catie bounced in and out happily.  Abby was lured in by a very clever, rosy-cheeked Santa Claus waving a candy cane.  That was not the case this time.  This Santa just was not as magical sitting between the crafts and the $5 DVD display at WalMart.  As we walked away, I could see Abby's entire little body relax a little, as if to say, "Whew!  That was a close one."

<------This is not fun.  (No, these are not my kids)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Sunday, November 6, 2011


I am not sure what draws me to think of certain heroes so often...but, I do.  Military.  Active or not.  It is unbelievable to me that these everyday people make a decision to put their own lives at risk to ensure that my country is a free and safe place to live...and that others have a safe place to live around the world.  Whether or not you believe that war is right and just, we all owe so much to these men and women.  It doesn't stop there.  They leave families behind.  There are husbands and wives holding up the fort while their spouse is deployed for months and months and months.  They are absent for births, birthdays, first steps, graduations, deaths, heartaches, Christmases, report cards, and so much more that I cannot even imagine. 

When they come home, we celebrate, throw parties, honor them, and tell them how much we appreciate them, AS WE SHOULD. 

But, then, we go on living our lives, as they go on...dealing with all of the memories they will forever hold of their deployment.  We go on living, and they go on dealing.  Simply dealing.  Dealing with adjusting to this life that they once left.  With this life that they have returned to.  They deal with the memory of the life of when they were gone for SO long, in another surreal world.  In that life, I can only imagine, the heartache for the desire to be with their family must be so great.  I can imagine that they must remember only the good of life back at home.  They must be so anxious for the comfortable feeling of American living. 

When they return, though, they are left to find work again.  Sure, their jobs are supposed to be available for them upon return, but it is not always the case.  They are returning to the fairy tale they dreamed of during their deployment.   In actuality, they return to a life we ALL know.  The economy.  Money.  Kids arguing.  the daily 9-5.  In addition, they can add the stress of their memories.  Memories we cannot imagine.  War.  No one else talks much about it.  How would you?  No one brings it up, really.  They just have to deal with it.

I have an uncle who proudly served for 10+ years in the military, was in the Delta Force, and has secrets he will take to the grave.  He is one of the kindest, most thankful people I know.  For the trees, the early morning sunrise, his morning coffee, his family.  He rarely complains of the back pain inflicted from shrapnel from enemy fire.  He texts often how much he loves us all.  He has seen so much.  He knows a blessing when he sees it.  I am so thankful for his courage and service to our country.  I can count my cousins, Seth and Christie, and a few friends from the past that have sacrificed so much to serve.  I am so thankful to all of them, more than words can even express.

Friday is VETERAN'S DAY!  Don't wait until Friday to pat a VET on the back.  Do it every chance you get.  They deserve it.

Lesson:  Heroes are disguised as everyday people who did something great.