Today, I decided to take the girls to the mall just to get out of the house and do some normal family things. By the time we arrived, the parking lot was packed with cars and there were people bustling everywhere. Because I really do hate shopping, I figured this trip would be, at best, an annoyance, but what actually happened was something I wasn't quite prepared for.
As I walked through the front doors of the shopping centre, I was immediately hit with the scent of cinnamon and pine. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and the more I walked the more I was reminded that my husband wouldn't be home for Christmas again this year.
So, there I was standing in the middle of the shopping mall trying to control what I knew was about to happen. In those first few moments, a thousand thoughts and emotions overtook me. I was thinking about the tree that my husband wouldn't put up and the gifts we won't stay up late wrapping together and the smile on his face when he sees his children open their gifts and the sadness in his eyes knowing that he won't be waking up beside me on Christmas morning.
The sight of families shopping together and laughing and drinking hot chocolate and coffee was nearly too much for me and as my eyes began welling up with tears, I realized that if I gave into what I was feeling that I would not be able to regain my composure and my girls would sense that. I knew I couldn't let them see the sheer sadness I felt in my heart not having my husband beside me.
So, while the holidays are a time for families to be together and to appreciate the gifts that they have been given, I can't help but be disappointed that my family is not together in its entirety. I will, however, always be grateful for the gift of my husband and children and I will continue to do what needs to be done for them and hope and pray that this is the very last Christmas that we spend apart.