This is going to be a big week at the Hoekstra Homestead. On Saturday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with some of our family and friends. Our home will be full of food and people…and I’m not quite prepared for all of that yet.
The holidays are coming. Fast. We can’t stop them, we can ignore them, push them off on the back burner, and just pretend that they don’t happen. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, friends. I mean, my husband has already played Christmas music in the car, so there’s that. I just want to find the right turkey (yep, that’s right. I don’t even have the turkey yet).
So, why are some of our Veterans anxious or uneasy around the holidays? Well, for us, in our home, it can be an anniversary date. Yep, a trigger. What is meant to be fun, a time spent with family, friends, and a time to eat all the comfort food you can imagine can be really uncomfortable. It is hard. It is hard to explain, it is hard to describe, so I’m going to try.
People can be overwhelming at times for Sam. It’s not that he isn’t a people person, but the noise, the crowd, and the amount of people can really be too much. Sometimes he might be distant or seek some type of safe place (yes, even in our own home), so he may appear distant, rude, and he may seem like he just wants to avoid the situation altogether. Don’t take that personally if you ever see him do that…he’s just trying to regroup and focus on the good, not an intrusive thought or some anxiety creeping in.
When you are in the military (as I have been told) the dates of certain days don’t always mean you celebrate a certain holiday. For example, there might be a mission on Thanksgiving. Christmas Day might be really difficult because you are on patrol, etc. Those days, days of celebration, happiness, love, and family also come with memories. So, while our friends and family, those around us get really excited about decorating or food, some of our service members (husband included here) really don’t like the date. Please keep that in mind–anniversary dates are always around, and while that holiday does have meaning, the military service has meaning too.
I mentioned crowds and people…but you want to know something–my husband is a Black Friday shopper. I worked retail in another lifetime, and I never shopped Black Friday because I was always working. When he told me that he likes to go out on Black Friday, I couldn’t believe it. WHY? For the love of all things, shopping…deals? Tools? Presents? That is a big fat no. So, last year, he went out extremely early in the morning, returned home with some things, and then I went with–and we were alright. There were some moments of “what in the heck am I doing out?” but we did it together, and we had fun. We might have been napping around 9 a.m., but it was worth it? Will we go out this year? Stay tuned…
The key to some of the anxiety, memories, and uneasiness about the holidays this year is different because we have one another and we have Memphis. He will be right with us during that family time, and he may even be working. He will keep a close watch on his favorite human, that’s for sure.
So, if you celebrate with family and friends, remember, the holidays are not always pleasant for some of us. There are reminders of loss, reminders of deployments, missions, etc. Keeping an open mind, being patient, loving, and understanding will be key.
These two make quite a team. They make my heart all squishy.