By: Brandon Bush
The Greater Ashland Beacon
Christmastime has come and gone once again. Hopefully, everyone enjoyed a wonderful time of celebration and had the opportunity to make memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Whether it was eating that Christmas dinner carefully prepared by the mothers, grandmothers, or anyone else that you have in your life, Christmas is the time of year that we all look forward to seeing our loved ones getting a full belly. Perhaps that special memory for you was the dads and grandfathers putting together the toys for their children while they frantically searched for batteries for that annoying noise making toy, which someone just had to buy. Point being, most of us had the chance to make those precious memories.
But, there is a very sad truth out there that most of us don’t think about. There are many who are not able to spend Christmas with their families and are still out there working everyday… including Christmas. Some of us can rotate work schedules or are even able to take vacation time in order to have Christmas off. Here is a heart -breaking thought for you--there are parents out there who have had to miss multiple Christmases. I had the privilege to talk to a man, who has been through this sad reality. Sergeant First Class Brian Church shared with the Beacon about the time he has missed over the past few years, and how he is looking forward to what the future holds.
Church has served our country in the National Guard for 10 years now and has been employed for Marathon working on the boats for three years. This Christmas has been the first Christmas he has been home for in five years. A lot of memories have been missed. I asked him what he missed most about the Christmas mornings while he was away. Church stated, “Hearing the children and the excited tone in their voice about what Santa had left them and the noise of their feet rushing to see what was left.” While Church was gone, he was able to FaceTime his children during Christmas. It was just enough time to say I love you to and see their faces as they lit up with excitement over their new toys and gifts. He also made a loving phone call to the parents. “FaceTime is just a little too complicated for them.” added Church with a slight chuckle in his voice.
Even with the calls, it’s always heartbreaking wishing you could be there. Missing the sounds of your children, smelling the food, and most of all feeling that warm hug from your loved ones. As we talked about the things we have both missed and enjoyed, we came to an agreement… We all miss the time we can’t get back, but in the same hand, it’s worth it. Let me elaborate on that a little more. As a dad, we would love to be there for everything, but the way we were raised the dad is responsible for providing for the family. Time is the sacrifice we make to ensure that our families always have what they need, and hopefully a little of what they want.
With this being Church’s first Christmas home, he is looking forward to all the new memories to be made. I asked Church what he was looking forward to the most. His response was both simple and perfect, “Spoiling the children as much as I possibly can and having a big Christmas dinner at the parents’ house with all the family.” This dinner is a little different from others, instead of sandwiches and little things to snack on, a full spread was prepared. So, after a five-year run of missing Christmas and the years of being without his children, Church is back home and ready to hear the excitement in the voices of the kiddos and the smell of his mother’s cooking. Merry Christmas Sergeant First Class Brian Church, and thank you for your service.