Holiday Expectations - By Rachel Kromka

With the holidays coming our way, you start to think about your plans for those days. What you're going to eat. What you're going to wear or even who you're going to see for the holidays. When I start to think of the holiday, I start to look back at the enjoyable and memorable times. Remembering waiting for Santa to show up, to seeing all the gifts under the tree. To spend time with family and friends. To the smell of the yummy food that my mom took all day on. For our family the holidays were a little different than some people. I grew up with a father who was a firefighter for 39 years. Holidays were never easy on our family. We grew up knowing that dad wasn’t always going to be home. However, we created a whole new way to enjoy the holidays. We were blessed to have our dad work ten minutes away from home. So we would always end up visiting him at the station, along with other families. I still can remember going to my dads fire station on Christmas Day. I will say not every year did my dad work on Christmas Day, but when he did it was always fun to go. I can think back to the cold air against my face and wearing a really pretty red velvet dress with white tights. All the firefighters at the station were cooking yummy food and we would bring my moms famous pie. Another memory I have, was Thanksgiving day at the fire station. A cooked turkey in the pot outside and enjoying the thanksgiving events on the TV. Those memories will always stay with me and I hope I can pass down some of those traditions with my family.  

With moving miles away from family and having a husband who’s a first responder it has made life and the holidays a little hard on me. Being so far away has made me rethink traditions for the holidays to come. With now having a little one of my own, we have created family traditions of our own. With my husband being a first responder we decided to also continue the tradition of visiting my husband at the station. With being a first responder family, I now understand how hard it must have been on my mom and having four children. This will be our second year, as a family, going through the holidays without my husband being home. It never seems to get easier as the time goes on. With my little one being over a year old now, I wish sometimes I could have my husband home for those special days. I wish he could see her face when Santa comes to our house and leaves gifts for her. With being a wife to a first responder, you learn to navigate around his lifestyle. Learn to move things around in your schedule, and learn to enjoy the little things because you never know when he’ll be home. I try to stay strong with my little one, family, and friends. But there are times, like the holidays, that I can’t always be strong. With so many people posting their family/ friend holiday memories, it does hurt to know we don’t have those special days. However, like I mentioned before, we are now creating our own family traditions. I know this life, as a first responder family, is going to have its ups and downs. I know my husband might miss out on those special days, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop what we are doing and feel sad about those days. We need to be strong and create our own things. Create our own memories when we can. 

As I think about the holidays coming up, I started to think of traditions we can start on our own. Some family traditions we do now, are to celebrate holidays the day before. My husband worked Halloween day but what we did was visit him while he was working. Not only did my little one love seeing her dada at work, my husband was smiling from ear to ear seeing us. In addition to Halloween, my husband unfortunately this year works both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we will still celebrate that day with him before Christmas Eve. We also hope to visit him at the station on Christmas Day. We also cherish these memories even more. We also have a fun tradition that we are going to start this year, with cutting our own Christmas Tree. These are just some of many things we are going to start doing as our little one gets older. I want to make sure our little one remembers the good times and not the times her dad wasn’t home for. Being a first responder wife has never been easy, but I know others out there might have it worse than me. I want other families to know, it won't be easy at times, but just know it will get easier. We need to remind ourselves to enjoy the moments we have now. You never know when it might be our last moments either. Love the time we spend together and document those times too. Create the memories you want to create! Make the most of the time we have with each other and think of ways to enjoy them. These are the moments I love seeing my family grow and enjoy. I tried to remind myself that my life is beautiful and amazing in its own way. No matter what life gives us, we take what we have and enjoy those moments. Love and cherish the memories we have. As my husband always says to me, take time to live in the moment and love those around us! He always keeps me loving our life and appreciates everything we have and I thank him for everything he has provided for our family! Happy holidays to everyone! 

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