“Eloise, what do you want for Christmas?”
“Yes! And on Christmas morning, what do you want under the tree?”
“Christmas season under the tree…?”
“Do you want presents?”
“What do you want IN the presents?”
“Hmmmmmmm I want presents.”
Now, those are expectations I can meet! There will be presents! This is one of those situations where three year olds are the best.
Chris’ arrival home right before Thanksgiving made it easy to roll into all the fun the kids and I talked about doing once Dad got home and Christmas season started. In three days, Chris had his annual, much-bemoaned PRT (physical readiness test) and a multi-pronged NATOPS (naval aviation training operations and procedures or something) book test, flights, instrument checks, etc etc, and we had two evening Christmas parties plus Det Night, where Chris hosted all the sailors on his detachment for dinner and a pre-deployment brief where he explains everything that needs to happen before deploying, like why everyone should have a will, power of attorney, and passport (example: one of Chris’ guy’s dad died while they were in the Middle East and he missed the funeral because he couldn’t take a commercial plane back to the States without a passport). Anyway, that’s what’s up in MIDPAC.
One of the Christmas parties was for the ship; a masquerade ball downtown on the Waikiki waterfront. Chris introduced me to his captain and some of the guys he works with on deployment, and—most shockingly—we actually danced!
“That wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be,” Chris said, being totally Chris.
Outside, torches lit up the night, and a nearly-full moon hung overhead, shining through the whispy clouds and waving palms. Diamond Head stood dark behind the city lights that twinkled above glimmering waves. The Sheraton Waikiki lobby was like stepping into…Japan. We were the only non Japanese speakers in the Lawsons Konbini on the hotel’s ground floor. Ha! I love that about Hawaii.
The kids dressed up and accompanied us to the wardroom holiday party the next night. That is something I really appreciate about this command—they’ve made it clear that after hours events should take away as little family time as possible, so the events are often kid friendly. Sometimes that’s the difference between being able to go or not for me, especially when Chris is gone. But when I hear, “dinner for visiting top brass, bring your kids!”—yes, thank you! That kind of inclusion is why we wanted to do another OCONUS tour. Eloise picked out a new party dress and insisted on wearing the mask I’d gotten the night before.
“Ooooo, so glamorous,” I said. “Everyone will wonder, ‘Who is that mysterious girl?'”
“No.” Eloise said firmly. “I cool girl. Jonah will wonder, ‘Who is that cool girl?'”
Oh my word. Jonah is her favorite four year old, and he DID notice her, too. She kept the mask on all night and he stuck close to her elbow at the kids coloring table. Isaac ran around with his friends all night, and for dinner we had poke, pineapple, lau lau chicken, kalua pork and rice. So fun!
In other Christmas Season news, we made a gingerbread house, then I caught the kids licking the gingerbread house, then the kids ate the gingerbread people and all the gumdrops, and now the gingerbread house is melting in the humidity so maybe I should have just let them eat it all. The kids decorated the tree, we watched Elf, some excellent cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies on Netflix, and Home Alone (MISTAKE—too scary for the kids).
We made sugar cookies and decorated them, then the kids ate ALL THE SUGAR. I feel like I’d have to be an Amazon to swat down the offending hoards of incoming sugar. If I let my guard down for a moment the sweets multiply, swarm, and attack! We still have massive amounts of Halloween candy and Eloise just found some old jelly beans, which at this point I should just put in the freezer for next Easter. Ugh.
I tried to go to the Lanikai Christmas Craft Fair by myself, but Chris and the kids wanted to come meet me there. Predictably, the moment they saw me, everyone was hungry and thirsty and needed coffee, eggs and lasagna (CHRIS). Before that, it was nice.
I think that’s it…and it’s only the first week of December! What else does the month have in store??