I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.

The holiday season has always been an occasion I look forward to each year. It kicks off with my birthday on November 16. Then comes Thanksgiving; a time of so much scrumptious food I never know where to begin, days off from work, time with family and maybe some shopping. And then the best part arrives. It is now acceptable to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime or Hallmark, listen to Christmas music in the car, pick out the perfect Christmas tree and deck our halls with holiday decor. It’s the best.

But then I went and married a guy who works in retail. A guy I very much would like to have around all the time if that was a possibility. But ever since we met, the holidays for him become more about extremely long hours, stress, planning, stress, lack of sleep, working through the night and more stress. And I know I don’t help the situation.

He came to kiss me goodbye the other morning, and I glanced at my phone to check the time. 2:59 a.m. He had to have been up for at least 20 minutes to shower, dress, make coffee, etc. “I thought you didn’t have to be there until 3:30,” I griped as he tried to get in one last kiss before he left. I could tell he was trying not to get irritated. His schedule had been mayhem, he had been battling a cold and his wife could only provide complaints, not encouragement. You’d think I would learn by now that this comes with the territory. But I still get needy and disgruntled when his busiest time of the year rolls around, no matter how long we have been together.

Thankfully, after I had slept another 4 hours, I apologized for my terrible attitude, and he forgave me. Each year I tell myself I’m going to be more understanding and more supportive. But all I feel is selfish. I want him to be home with me to celebrate this special time. And he is. He spends whatever free time he has with me and his family. He tries to stay up as late as he can just so we can get a little extra time together. He works so hard at not only his job, but being the best husband to me. 

Thanksgiving can be pretty lonely as he attempts to sleep through the day to prepare for his overnight shift. While I wish we had more weekends spent attending holiday parties, being with our families and looking at Christmas lights, we have to make due with the few weekends he has off to enjoy those moments. But for us, this is the way it is. And I’m trying to learn to accept that. (Clearly, I’m not a very fast learner.) I’ve said it before, but since it’s still early in the season, I’m going to say it again, not only because the season calls for it, but because my hubby deserves it. I’m going to work at being more supportive, understanding and there for whatever he needs.

And to all you holiday shoppers out there, I ask you to help spread some cheer to the army of retail workers across the country. They are there to help you however they can, but they are also human. Don’t forget that.

Ashley Bebensee

Hi! I’m Ashley, a Nebraska girl living in Wyoming. I grew up on a farm in western Nebraska, graduated with a class of 28 and ventured to the middle of the state to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney. It was there I met the love of my life and husband, Brett. He is the most romantic, kind and intelligent person I know. And he makes me belly-laugh (truly the best kind). We have two cats and two dogs that are spoiled rotten. I am a content manager at a weekly newspaper, where I get to spend my days reading, writing, editing and designing a newspaper. British television shows, wine and caramel apples from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are my guilty pleasure. Shopping with my mom, going to the movies with my husband, long phone conversations with my dad and spoiling my nieces and nephews are just a few of my favorite activities. While I try to plan out all the details of life like the good control freak that I am, God is always throwing in curveballs. And so far, each of those curveballs have given me a bountiful amount of stress and love, adventure and joy, and more blessings than I could have ever imagined.