Every year since the war began, I've sent care packages to troops. They've been getting bigger each year. Seems like the longer people are fighting, the longer they are away from their families...the more I need to do in support of them.
This year, I started thinking about a friend and how her husband was re-deployed, again. I wondered about these families that have to say hello and goodbye so often -- although she and so many others are so wonderfully eloquent and open about it that there is little actual wondering involved, other than "what would I do?"
My friend's husband got leave to come home for the holidays -- yea! -- but he left behind other members of his unit. So I said, "What can I do?"
Her husband asked his unit members, they generously shared their names and APO address, and I thought, "Who else can help?"
That's when I turned to my SeaWorld WildSide buddies. They all signed up to help without hesitation. One friend had her child's class collect and contribute for her holiday buddy. One friend shopped the stores out. Others asked about special requests. In the end, everyone sent gorgeous packages of treats. I sent a little gift bag of stationary, and silly stocking stuffer items for each person, along with a holiday card that expressed my appreciation for their service.
My kids helped. My husband helped. When I stopped to think, this is one of our holiday traditions. We've done it our kids' entire lives -- which also gives pause to wonder, "How much longer?"
If we think we have an opinion about the war/conflict/emancipation/peacekeeping mission/whatever euphemism we use now, imagine how the troops must think and feel about it. If we think it's tough to continue supporting this conflict, imagine how it feels to be the people doing it. If we think the price tag is high, imagine how much it costs those military service members. And their families.
Then think about how they do it. Every day. With pride.
That got me thinking about every day...and maybe other holidays besides Christmas and New Years.
Watch out. Soon, I might be asking people to send Valentine's cards. Peeps at Easter. Fourth of July packages. :)