Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Way Back When-esday: I'll Have A Blue Christmas

Francie and Fiver, ages 5 & 2, early December 2004

Sometimes, when I look at a picture I haven't seen in a while, every specific feeling and memory of that time comes flooding back over me, and yet I am still able to marvel at the fact that so much time has passed. It doesn't happen with every picture, but it sure does with this one.

This was the year that Rob was called up with the Navy reserves. The year of Christmas (and every other holiday) without Daddy. The year that I hit the skip button every time I'll Be Home For Christmas came on, just so I wouldn't dwell.

It was the day before Thanksgiving 2004, and Rob got a call from the Navy reserve center. I could overhear him as I did prep work for the next day, and when he started asking questions like how long? and will I need any extra vaccinations? and when do I leave? . . . well, some things you don't really need to be told.

The reserve center, which didn't know that this was the first that Rob was hearing the news, said that he would be gone by December 15th. We had two weeks to make a family Christmas, and I hadn't even started shopping yet.

We did everything at an accelerated rate: we bought the first tree we found, we threw the decorations on it, I bought every gift we needed in a one day shopping marathon, we exchanged gifts. All while getting our paperwork in order, packing Rob's bags, making lists of anything in the house that Rob had been putting off doing . . . whatever he could squeeze in, he did.

And then, he left. And Christmas morning came without him, like it does for thousands of families who have loved ones in the military. We had fun, but there was always that gap in the table to remind us.

It's hard to believe that this was so long ago. In fact, it's been a lifetime ago. Two lifetimes, to be exact, Sally's and Bun's. Francie and I have some shared memories that we will pull out every now and then, but Fiver has no recollection at all. A tender mercy, that.

And so at this time of year, we like to remind ourselves how different one year was for our family. And exactly how thankful we are now.

For more Way back When-esday fun, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation!


  1. What a memory to put things in perspective. Praying you have a blessed T'giving and Christmas TOGETHER this year. And many, many thanks to your whole family for the sacrifices you have made to serve the country!

  2. I remember that year all too well myself, as I was living with you at the time. For Aimee's other readers, let me say that you cannot underestimate just how much Rob's absence was felt by Aimee - it was huge. And that is certainly not to say that at the time Francie and Fiver did not feel it as well...oh yes, they did. But now, thankfully, Rob is home to stay, and we will be all together in one cozy, happy, love-filled place to celebrate Thanksgiving as it should be celebrated - with those whom we love!

  3. I am sooo grateful for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms! Thankyou to Rob for his willingness to serve and to you and your family for giving im up. I have a very close friend whose husband is military and I have seen how hard these deployments can be. I know every single Christmas and Thanksgiving with him home is extra special to ya'll!

    On a totally seperate note, I gave you an award on my blog, go check it out when you get the chance

  4. Oh Aimee....this is such a moving, moving and well-articulated memory! (The intentional "skip" of I'll Be Home for Christmas" was so poignant.) THANK YOU, and Rob, and Francie and Fiver for your family's incredible sacrifice for our country. We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude. Am so very thankful you all will have the holidays together.

    THANK YOU for this beautiful story behind the picture, and for playing along with Way Back When-esday!

  5. Love the pj's. I am soooo happy Christmas time has rolled around again. Love seeing all the Christmasy pics popping up.

  6. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Wow - what a great blog. I remember stopping over your house after Christmas with Annaka and marveling at how together you were.
    Thanks for reminding me today to be thankful for the gift of family.
    Mirabella Mom

  7. Anonymous8:54 PM

    I remember all that--I was still in Mother's group with you. I also remember that you got pregnant right after Rob's return and we were pregnant at the same time for a few months! :)


  8. 4am!?!? Is that posting time right? :-)


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