I had a parenting semi-emergency that required I go to the store at 9pm. Night time pull-ups and dish soap
and Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses. I was waiting in line to pay when two very young men came up behind me, joking and laughing. As they mocked the cashier it was clear this was their friend. The young man who slapped down a pack of gum behind my stuff was in blue fatigues and hadn’t seen his friend in ten months. I smiled and asked if he was home on holiday leave.
“Yes ma’am.” He nodded then went back to pointing at his friend who was about to run my items over the scanner. At that age going that long without seeing your friends would be very difficult, a sacrifice.
I admire the sacrifice of young men like this one. In our family we have several generations of military service for my children to learn from and honor. My father-in-law, my father and my husband all served in Korea during three different times of war. My grandfathers served during world wars. My husband was in the reserves when we met. This holiday season remember the people who serve our country in more than just military ways. My sister serves the US as a civilian employee and cannot make it home over the holidays some years.
Remember all of those who serve that cannot return home at this time. They make our lifestyles possible. All these dystopian novels that have been showing up and being revisited (1984, Brave New World, Matched and of course Hunger Games) are showing us what life could be. History has shown us how much worse life could be.
So while being “Ma’am”ed was a bit of a Hah to me, he was showing respect. While life has been complicated and living without an oven for two months during holiday times has been tough, it could be worse.
And enjoy today. Enjoy the people you are with. Enjoy the anticipation of good moments like kids anticipate Christmas morning.