Do you know that phrase, “When life gives you lemons…?” Some people finish it with “make lemonade,” or “give them back and ask for chocolate!” The phrase, meant to be used to encourage optimism and help you gain that positive attitude, has been around for a long time. Lemons are meant to represent the sourness in your life.
Do you have sourness in your life? Do you often feel that you’ve been dealt some lemons? I bet we all have at one time or another.
The holiday season can sometimes make that phrase come to mind. Lemons (sour times) being that we have a lot of family to see over the holidays and not enough time to do it. Or, we can’t decide on a good Christmas meal menu (and we always want to have good food at our family gatherings, right?), we wait until the last minute to do our Christmas shopping, we complain about the lines, the people…the list could go on and on…
Some Veterans struggle with the holidays. For the longest time, I didn’t understand why Sam said, “Christmas Day is hard for me.” I thought maybe he lost a family member around the holidays, or there was a bad family experience that took place one Christmas. I never dreamed it would be due to the military.
Anniversary dates can be difficult for Veterans, or those serving in the military. If you’ve ever been around Veterans to hear them tell stories, it might get quiet…there might be a moment of reflection or remembrance, and maybe they drift to that very moment they were talking about. Maybe they remember when they lost someone in their unit. Maybe they remember a mission, and those memories can come back at any time, but sometimes memories come on “the anniversary.”
Some anniversary dates for military personnel can be the date of their enlistment or retirement, the date(s) they were deployed, dates of soldiers lost, the first time they fired a weapon, the first welcome home and even dates of certain missions…
Christmas Day is an anniversary date for Sam. I know the story and the reason why this is so difficult. It breaks my heart, and I know it weighs on him every Christmas.
However, our holidays will be a little brighter this year. We will be celebrating with our children and extended family, but we also get to celebrate with Memphis.
I know that while difficult memories may come back on Christmas Day for Sam, Memphis will be there for him. That is one of the best Christmas gifts he could ever receive…
There are so many people who are hurting or suffering. At times that seems amplified during the holidays. There are many Veterans who would love to celebrate their holidays with family, but a family gathering might be too much stress. Some Veterans may not have anyone to celebrate with, or may not even want to leave their home. I know there are some Veterans who may dislike the holidays for a variety of reasons, and maybe they have an anniversary date around the holidays too.
So, when life gives you lemons…even if it is during the holidays…I hope that you can make lemonade, trade it in for chocolate, find time to spend with your loved ones, call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile, get coffee with your significant other, enjoy a nice meal around the table, and support the ones you love–even if the holidays are difficult for them for whatever reason. Love. Show it. Live it.