Decorating our house for the holidays has always been a big deal for our family. Right before Thanksgiving last year, while my husband was deployed, I came down with life threatening case of Meningitis and was hospitalized for a week. When I was sent home I was still very weak and I had to have a PICC line for 6 weeks for IV antibiotics.
My kids life had already been turned upside down. Their daddy was deployed and they spent the last week at grandma’s house while their mommy was in the hospital. I wanted nothing more than to give them a sense of normalcy, a sense that even though things were hard for a while, they were going to return to normal soon. However, I had a big job in front of me: Decorating our house for the holidays by myself while recovering from meningitis.
I tried, but it wasn’t possible. I eventually had to quit before I fell off the ladder. Realizing that I couldn’t get the Christmas lights down from the rafters and up on the roof was just something I wasn’t capable of doing. I couldn’t tell my kids that I gave up on the lights, so I did what I could and hung up a few things around the house. They knew that the decorating wasn’t complete but were too young to realize that it was because I just couldn’t bring down the boxes, and if I did, that I wouldn’t be able to haul them onto the roof. I was tired, heartbroken, and miserable.
That’s when one of the greatest things that anyone has ever done for our family happened. One of my neighbors figured out what was going on and came over. He brought everything down from the rafters for us and then hung up our exterior lights. Then he brought down our tree and set it up for us as well. He only wanted a hot chocolate with my kids in return and said it was it his pleasure to do it for the family of a deployed service member. Decorating the tree that night while our lights were on outside was an answered prayer and it let us know that everything was going to be okay.
Giving back to the military this year is easier than ever. This holiday season there is a special partnership between Walmart, Operation Homefront and Fisher House to support military families nationwide. Walmart’s “Holiday Salute to Military Families” initiative aims to honor and support our service members and veterans who keep our country safe, as well as the military families who act as our heroes at home. Join in our Holiday Salute to Military Families.
Research shows that nearly 50 percent of our nation’s active duty military members are parents, and many spouses and children remain at home while a service member is deployed. Despite the courage and strength upheld by military families year-round, separation can be financially and emotionally exhausting, especially during the holidays.
The “Holiday Salute to Military Families” hopes to ease these burdens with $2 million in grants for toys, meals and lodging assistance to those military families with the greatest need of support this year. The donation will also help hundreds of active duty service members come home for the holidays to be reunited with their loved ones.
In addition to the work made possible thanks to Walmart’s grant, Operation Homefront and Fisher House are also calling for a nationwide salute by all Americans. To learn more about how you can salute military families this holiday season, visit Fisher House and Operation Homefront.
#GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations. My family has benefited from many toy giveaways and food distributions from these types of organizations. I have to tell you, they made a huge difference for us. It is teaching my kids that what their daddy does is heroic and people want to help us because of his bravery. It’s also showing them that when we have more than we need, we need to give to others. And that is what #Givingtuesday is about. Sharing with others when you can, in any way you can. Whether time, items or monetary donations.
Please share this post on your social sites and tag a military member that you are grateful for!!