A Military Auntie’s Christmas Letter
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Shawn Blackhawk
Growing up in America's Heartland, Shawn Blackhawk used her poetry from an early age to express herself. Her philosophy has always been: "I'll try anything once." She uses her words like a brush, painting vivid pictures, evoking as much emotion from her readers as she can. She appreciates struggles, as they pave the road to triumph, and firmly believes that the darkest parts of the human mind and soul are the only way to eventually celebrate the light. She has been recognized for Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence by Jenkins Group (eLit Awards) and was the 2011 Silver Medal Finalist for the Electronically Published Internet Collation (EPIC Awards). Shawn's poetry book can be purchased at L-Book.com.
Guess what? It’s Christmas! I wish I could be home this year, but it looks like once again, that isn’t going to be possible. It’s not that I don’t want to be there. I’m just too far away to make it back.
I’m bummed about that. I mean, there’s one of you I haven’t even had a chance to meet yet! It’s true, littlest one of my nieces. You were a half-baked kiddo when last I saw your mommy. Now, you’re going on your second Santa day. The rest of you are older and bigger but can still tell her all about how the big guy in red comes to visit—how he manages to fly around the world in one night, leaving presents for all the good little boys and girls. If you happen to stay up late enough to catch him, can you do your Auntie a solid? Ask him what his diet plan is for me. I’d LOVE to be able to eat all the cookies I want and still fit the same size uniform. As it is, I’ll just eat the ones you helped your mom make for me. The box they came in was a little beat up, but they still tasted great. How did you know that my favorite sugar cookie decorations were purple icing, cinnamon dots, and chocolate sprinkles? I can’t believe you figured that out all by yourselves! The other people here wanted some, but I told them these were special ones made just for me—that while I like them all and trust them with my life, I need that extra bit of special protection that comes with the love you guys baked into these. So, it’s too bad for them.
I wish it was snowing here. If I hike up (way up) into the mountains, there’s snow up there. It takes three whole days to get there, and sometimes, it’s not safe for me to go. So, I’ll have to pretend that the sand we have everywhere is really snow just like in the pictures you sent. I’ll bet Santa can land his sleigh much, much easier on snow. I’ve seen one of my guys try to land a HumV at night, and if you’re standing in the wrong spot, you end up with sand in your hair, shoes, shirt pockets and occasionally, dinner. Trust me. Sand doesn’t taste any better than yellow snow. Ask your dad to explain THAT one!
Some of us have taken bits and pieces of old uniforms, clean, but holey socks, tin foil, and scraps of wrapping paper from our care packages and made our own Christmas tree. It’s nowhere near as nice as that one in the picture. Grandma and Grandpa look really happy, having all of you there. You can tell them I NEVER remember having that many presents under our tree growing up. Since there doesn’t seem to be any room left, I’m guessing you won’t mind if Santa drops all your presents off over here for me, do you? Okay, okay, I’m kidding. I know I’m too old, but make sure you save me something, okay? I won’t be away forever, and I’ll want to have a gift or two of my own when I get home. I picked you up some really cool stuff from the market, and I’ll bring it with me next time I get a long enough leave to come home. Your other Auntie says that she bought you some things there, so you have something to open from us on Christmas day. Tell her I say “Hi” and that I love her, okay?
I’m pretty sure that by now, you are all ready to eat. Grandma will do her best to cook something fancy for you. I’m kind of jealous you’ll be getting brisket and ham, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. I bet she made three different kinds of pie, didn’t she? That’s me, missing real food. I’m going to eat so much when I get home. I’ll bring you some food from here, so you can see how we eat on the move—that’s when our food comes in bags and boxes. Our galley cook thinks he’s in a four star restaurant when we’re on the ship. It ends up as one color and tastes like school cafeteria spaghetti. Yuck, right? I’m getting hungry just thinking about Christmas dinner back home. I’ll be there soon and so hungry that none of you kids will have a chance to eat. I’m going to eat ALL of it!
I miss you, all of you—your moms and dads, Grandma and Grandpa. I can’t wait to see all of you, see how big you’ve gotten—or even meet you for the first time. I feel like I know you all a little bit from the drawings you make me, the cards and photo’s you send. The letters your parents write me, telling me about school plays, football games, mean a lot. So, if you can keep doing that for me, I’d appreciate it and so would all my buddies over here. They like it when I read your letters or share your stories and drawings. Soon enough, I’ll be there to watch for myself, okay?
So, go eat dinner, take your baths, and let Grandpa read The Night Before Christmas in his best, deep voice. Sing some carols, leave out the cookies and milk, and wait for Santa to come. I’ll keep an eye out from here. If he stops by, I’ll make sure to tell him to give you guys a little something extra from me, okay? I love you so much and miss you!
Published: December 19, 2012