As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to remember what is important to you. Often times, we get caught up in traditions and trying to please those around us. However, we have to put ourselves and our families first. This becomes extremely trying with little ones and family/friends who don’t truly understand your lifestyle.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to spend many Thanksgivings and Christmases with both sets of my grandparents. Thanksgiving was simple: we alternated which side of the family we saw every year. Christmas was more complicated. We would spend time with my mom’s family either before or after Christmas day, which was nice. But, on Christmas, we would get up, open our gifts, and then immediately get dressed and head to celebrate with my dad’s side.
I loved seeing all of my family, but I hated feeling rushed and not being able to enjoy the things I had just opened. However, it was always very important to my family that we spent Christmas with the whole family.
Mr. Troop and I have always tried to split holiday celebrations evenly between our families. I always dreamt of having big celebrations with both sets of parents and being able to just relax and do a one day shindig. Unfortunately, our families had a falling out and it’s not what I was hoping for.
On top of that, we quickly realized that holidays are different for law enforcement families. As a matter of fact, Mr. Troop has been in law enforcement almost five years, and this is the first year he will not be putting in to work the holidays.
Mr. Troop has worked on my birthday every year as well as working Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas day. He often works 4th of July weekend and any other holiday he can possibly put in for.
In the beginning, I had a very hard time with this. I was so used to having family time and celebrating holidays when they happened, that it actually put me in a bad mood. I quickly had to realize that holidays can be celebrated whenever. Christmas joy doesn’t due on December 25th. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t taste any different three days after the calendar states the holiday is. A giant birthday cookie can be picked up on any day of the week and eaten for breakfast whenever you want to.
It’s taken a couple of years, but I’ve finally become accustomed to celebrating holidays when we can. Sometimes, Christmas happens on Christmas day and looks like this: Mr. Troop ends his shift at 6am, comes home, we make coffee, open presents, eat breakfast, and Mr. Troop goes to bed. He gets up late in the afternoon, we eat dinner, and he goes to work.
When you live the life, you become used to it. Our families don’t always understand, and they often times get frustrated with the fact that we have to celebrate before or after the calendar date. This used to bother me because I wanted to make everyone happy. And then, I had children and decided that our little family is what is most important to us. As long as we can celebrate a holiday together, that’s all that matters.
Honestly, I just pray that Mr. Troop comes home and is able to be with us for the holidays no matter when they are or when we celebrate. We are raising our children with the understanding that a calendar doesn’t determine when a celebration happens. As a matter of fact, we have made it part of our tradition that birthdays are spent with just the four of us, and parties will happen at a later (or earlier) date.
Life is too short to try and please everyone. Our family is what is most important and it’s pertinent to remember that a date on the calendar does not determine our plans.
So much pressure comes around the holidays, and we just need to sit back and enjoy what we have when we have it. We still have traditions, we still see our families, and we still have giant meals. We just might do it a little differently than other families. Other people don’t have to understand why we do what we do.
Start your own traditions. Celebrate how you want to. Do what makes sense for you and your family. Don’t let others bring you down, even if they are your family!