Well, here it is. Four years as a full-time firefighter, and we have the first time Jason has to work Christmas Day. We've been blessed by the timing of Leap Year. Other families have been cursed by it.
We got a small taste of what it will be like on Thanksgiving. It stinks. We did Thanksgiving with his family on Tuesday night. Thanksgiving with my family went on as planned on Thursday, without him. I had originally planned on leaving around 2pm to drive Jena and myself down to visit him, but since my family lives two hours from his firehouse, he told me he didn't want us driving that much, especially on the holiday with all the "crazies". So we didn't even see each other.
I think it bothered me more than it did him.
See, for him, it was a normal work day. Pretend nothing was different, and it doesn't seem so bad, right? But to me, being at my aunt's house, surrounded by family, repeatedly answering questions about where Jason was, even just the fact that we were doing our normal... without him. It just felt... weird.
Jodi no likey.
But, that is the life of the FireFamily, right? That is what we signed up for.
So this Christmas will be different.
Santa will come to our house the night of the 23rd, and we will celebrate Christmas Eve morning as if it were Christmas morning. And Jena will certainly not know the difference yet, which is grand. We will open presents and have breakfast together as a family, the three of us, then head over to his parents' house to have Christmas with his family on Christmas Eve (as usual).
The hard part will be Christmas Day.
There will be a part of me that I know will be sad waking up Christmas Day knowing that our Christmas morning is already over.
And Jena & I will get up and get ready and head over to my parents' house to have Christmas over there with my family, as usual (although a little earlier than usual, since we don't have to do our Christmas morning this year), and that will be weird.
Jason has never not been there, since I've met him. I will miss his presence, miss sharing that day with him. I anticipate... part of me will be sad.
My hope is... that Jena will be so enthralled by her aunts & uncles & cousins & grandparents & presents & decorations & lights, that perhaps by the time she thinks to ask where Daddy is it will be time to kiss her goodnight... and he willl walk in the door the next morning.