The times… they are a’changing around the old Wingate house.
I miss the pitter-patter of little pajama-clad feet, the squeal of high pitched voices, the little hands dusted with powdered sugar and bits of cookie dough… but these are good days, too. There’s nothing quite like watching the next generation find dreams of their own. It’s worth having Christmas day early, or a week early, or whenever we can, as long as we can get everyone together.
For years, our holiday celebrations have included friends adopted into our family clan.
Holiday friends aren’t just ordinary friends, but the special kind of friends you raise kids with over the years — the sort with whom you’ve indiscriminately tossed multiple dirty children in the bath at the end of the day… or power washed the whole crew after finding them in a Memorial Day mud puddle, as the case may be (we refer to this legendary moment as The Memorial Day Mud Event).
That Memorial Day mud photo was taken while several of those kids were celebrating a two-week reunion with their dad before he had to pack up his gear and travel half a world away to finish a year-long military deployment. That year was a long stretch of waiting and hoping and praying. It was our first experience (as a non-military family) with seeing what a soldier’s family goes through as one parent tries to fill the roles of two and kids worry about whether the absent parent is ever coming home.
That Christmas was a Christmas with an empty chair.
A strange thing happened to me on the way to Christmas this year. I thought about that Christmas when one person was missing… and a story came to me — the story of a little Hatteras Island Christmas miracle for one struggling military family:
Through the help of some everyday angels, that story made it to publication in record time. Proceeds will go to Operation Military Kids, which supports military kids when they have a parent deployed. If there’s any child who deserves extra TLC, it’s a child going through the loneliness and uncertainty that come with those months of missing Mom or Dad.
I hope you’ll enjoy this little offering from me… with the help of a few holiday friends 😉