Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas. In my humble opinion, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

My Christmas memories as a child are those of making treks to Sandusky, to see my Grandma and Grandpa and my aunts, uncles and cousins on my mother's side. Laying in the back of my parent's van (long before seat belts and car seats were required) and watching the Christmas lights as we travelled through town. Baking cookies with my mom and sisters, and listening to an Avon Christmas cassette that is still my favorite Christmas music in the world.

I had a good childhood. Christmas was always filled with love, family, togetherness.

When we don't live across an ocean, we are
always in Ohio for Christmas. Well, maybe not Christmas Day, but always part of Christmas week. Making that drive from wherever-to-Ohio, usually in the snow and very cold weather. That's the Christmas memories I have collected as an adult.

The past couple of Christmases have been different. We're far from home, and with Jon's work travels, my job insecurity, and 3 kids and all their gear made it just too hard to get home to Ohio.

We're lucky that we have formed an extensive 'second family' here in Hawaii.

I've mentioned it many times in posts in the past. These folks mean such a great deal to us. These families that have come into our lives and hearts. They are families that we won't live near forever, but will forever live in my heart (and hopefully in our lives, even if it's long-distance!)

I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have these families in my life. I know that God knew I would need to meet them, and that's why our Hawaii trip in 2006 fell through and we ended up moving here instead. It was so we could meet these people, invite them into our hearts, and share wonderful experiences that will be my children's childhood Christmas memories.

We're creating memories that my girls may not fully appreciate now, but they will treasure in the years to come.

It feels strange to have a sunburn on Christmas week (as I do), to wear shorts and tank tops when Christmas shopping with the hubby, to sit out on the lawn pulling weeds in December as I bond with a good friend and her new baby. It's a weird feeling to hear my Facebook friends talk about snow shovels and school delays while I tie my shoes and put on my iPod to go jog in the 80-degree heat. This is a surreal life, to live in "'Paradise", even for a short time, and be cut off from things that are normal to us - snowfalls, freeways, Applebee's for goodness sake! (As an aside, I am convinced that McDonald's is considered "fine dining out" here, unless you're in Waikiki.)

But the memories we've made, and will make for the rest of our stay here, are worth it. It stinks to be far from home, far from the people we love the most, and far from the daily events of their lives. But the Army has given us something wonderful to help make up for it:


And lots of it. We've gone places, seen things, that I would never have dreamed I'd experience. I snorkeled with an eel this past Friday, if you can believe that!

As we prepare for our new adventure, sometime in 2010 (God willing, of course), I take this blessed Christmas season to reflect on the memories we've made here in Hawaii. The friends we've found, the adventures we've taken, the challenges (both good and bad).

It's all part of the adventure.

To all of you, from the Heffners, our best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a fabulous 2010!


RangersGirl said...

Merry Christmas! Those are all wonderful adult and childhood memories. I have some great ones as a child...one of my favorites as an adult was visiting with you guys when you had gotten back from Germany at Jon's mom's and "Santa" even had a gift for me.

Krysti said...

TO: J & T, AAA

Mele Kaliki Maka Hawaii O'Hana! Bing Crosby helped the whole world get a glimpse of Christmas in the South Pacific.

In NW Ohio the pavement is dry (temporarily) and there is snow on the ground. Our Hawaii ornaments are on the evergreen tree. Reminders of the adventures you share!

I'm so excited you snorkeled! It's a big ocean!

No matter where we celebrate our hearts are warm with love and we are thinking of all of you!

Memories come in all seasons and the most wonderful time of year is bright with laughter and warm memories of years past and the ones we make today to share tomorrow! Merry Christmas!

Love, JJKA D :)