It’s been so hard trying to experience life everyday without blindly going through the motions, especially on a day as special as Christmas. This year was really hard. It was the FIRST Christmas we have ever spent apart from each other since we started dating. I tried as best I could to stay excited for Luke and Lily and I hope they had a special day.
Christmas Eve we did some last minute shopping. I helped your mom cook and the kids were able to see Nana and Bop. They met Lily for the first time and fell in love with her. That afternoon I went to Christmas Eve service with my family at First Baptist Woodstock and I was so sad because Johnny Hall wasn’t there to sing Oh Holy Night….. I KNOW. I was shocked as were our friends the Duran’s who sat behind us as well. We agreed that Johnny singing was what we looked forward to most every year! We talked for a while after service and then went back home. Avery and I wrapped our last minute gifts, we were up really late as usual. I called you to wish you a Merry Christmas because I knew you would be going to sleep soon. I could tell you were lonely which made me hurt even more.
Christmas morning we ate some breakfast and the kids opened their presents. We called you so you could watch them over FaceTime. Lily and Luke both received many toys and clothes. Luke’s favorite gifts were all of his cars! He just kept playing with them instead of opening the rest of his presents. Lily’s favorite gift was definitely the pink giraffe I got her ( *cough, cough* I mean Santa). She has been cuddling it for the past two days. My favorite presents were my Kate Spade back pack and wallet, my new cake turn table and the Tile your Mom gave me so I can find my keys when I lose them… daily! Then we went to your house to open gifts. Luke got some pretty awesome toys there too. He got one of those seats that you sit on and spin yourself around until you get sick. He got a hammer and table set, more cars, AND his first pair of light up shoes! No, they don’t squeak thank God. *haha* Lily got a seat that spins with toys on it for her to play with, clothes, and a new bath tub because your Mom loves giving them baths. 🙂
I bought your mom an 18ft tunnel to go with the agility course your Dad built for her and Luna. Luna is getting really good at it too! I gave your Dad a gift card to Cabelas and he seemed happy to add that to his yearly pile of gift cards from the family! Everyone tried to overload your packages with beef jerky because we know that is your favorite snack. We promised that we would make next Christmas the best one yet for you.
We ended the night at my house for our annual family Christmas dinner and we were so happy to have Nathan’s family join us for the first time! It’s nice to have everyone come together. We played Apples to Apples again and called it a night pretty early. Everyone was tired.
When we went to bed, we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and thanked God for sending his son to save our souls. We also thanked him for all of our blessings. I tried to remind myself that even though you are away, we really are truly blessed. This time is just a blink relative to the eternity we will have in heaven. You may not be with us BUT you are alive and safe, that’s all that matters.
Sometimes I catch myself wishing that time would go by fast after the New Year because it feels like such a crappy year but then I think about everything we were blessed with in 2016! Our two biggest accomplishments being our beautiful new house we just built and our precious baby girl that joined our family. 2016 has been a good year. 2017 will be even better when you return and we can start making memories again together. I’m so sorry you had to spend this day alone without us. I’m sorry your friends had to spend this day without their families as well but rest assured you were thought of. Many people are praying for you guys. Many are thankful for your service and everything you are doing to protect our country. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed. You are our hero. We love you so much and we are so grateful to have had you with us on Christmas Day, even if it was through a phone.
My heart hurts thinking about how many more months we have to spend apart. I can’t help but cry when I realize that we are only 1/4 of the way through this deployment but I have to find strength. I find it in Christ, your love for me, our babies, AND imagining that perfect day in July when we get to run into your arms again. We miss you and love you more than you know. Merry Christmas Clay! Next year will be better. I promise.
Forever and Always,
Brooke Lauren Rutherford xoxo