Tonight, the Family Support Center hosted a party for families of Deployed/TDY/Remote service members. We went, and I was shocked to see how many families from just our base are affected by the deployments right now. The place was packed, loads of kids, lots of moms, and even a few dads. I'm sure there were many more families that were not there.
The only other family from the "o" side of our squadron was our Commander's wife. I wonder if it isn't politically correct for Officer's wives to go to these functions. Oh well. I am willing to break out of the mold. We had a fun time. I knew a few of the other families from church and from our neighborhood, so we had people to sit with and talk to.
The clown made Emily nervous, but Sydney was brave and got a balloon for herself and Emily. The Santa was great. He had came complete with his own real beard and white hair. Again, I was worried that Emily would hide behind me, but she went right up to him and held his hand and told him her age. Each of us was given a gift. They were so generous. When I read on the invitation that there would be a gift for each child, I imagined Oriental Trading Company, but these were really nice gifts for every child, and adult, there. They seemed to have the gifts divided up by age and gender. Very thoughtful.
I have a feeling that the gifts were originally tags on an Angel Tree. I can imagine a family taking an angel and reading "10 year old girl" then finding craft supplies and dropping them into a donation box. I'm not sure how I feel about being on the recieving end of that. Kind of strange. We will have to search out a way to give to others this year.
My favorite childhood Christmas memories are of delivering gifts to the Hmong and Laos families in our branch. Filling stockings with an orange in each toe, watching Dad sneak back to the car in his red STANDFORD jacket, listening as a family discovered the treasures on their porch. Good times. Must find a way for our kids to experience that gift.