I have been unfortunately working both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but seeing as I have no children and my sailor is in Afghanistan, I am glad to be able to work the holiday so that others aren't apart from their family.
It's been these two shifts that remind me why I love being not only a nurse (and also why I hate it), but mostly be be a nurse in the Navy and why that makes it so much more worthwhile as a career.
For instance, yesterday I sat and held a newborn baby girl who wouldn't even meet or be held by her daddy until she was at least 10 months old because he just got re-deployed after coming home for a short while.
Or... the family who had problems getting WIC support because they were closed for the holiday because the low ranking privates and seamen get paid so little they qualify for WIC support.
Or... the father's spending every moment they can to hold their new baby because they know in a month how it feels to leave their family behind again and again.
My Christmas day started with me getting up before 5am, not to open presents, but to go to work. My first "Merry Christmas" of the day was to the Marine who had been standing watch at the back gate in the rain and would miss his children's expressions as they walked down the stairs and saw what Santa brought. (I'm hoping he's like me and took the shift to let others be with family.) As my day went on, I was visited by the Commanding Officer of the hospital (who I must say is awesome here) and provided care to active duty and dependent wives. I can say that I love my job. I feel that the military community is so appreciative of your help and are eager to learn and have a healthier lifestyle.
But I just want everyone to take the moment and remember the thousands of men and women who aren't in the country, on the continent, or on land, who aren't with their family today, Thanksgiving, New Year's and the other holidays and special events they miss. And also remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and how our lives would be changed without the birth of Jesus and without the freedom he gave us, as well as the freedoms we have living in America.
Have a Merry Navy Christmas!