I’m a UPS driver and I cried when I opened up our son’s letter to Santa.

I know this is a long one but I do hope you read it, I think my experience lines up with your sons in this case but can show you the long term perspective. Some background, my father worked the graveyard shift for local law-enforcement in the 70's, 80's, 90's until he retired in the early 2000s. During that time I would guess that maybe 95% of any holiday he was working because he was a Sergeant for a moderately sized town so he usually had to be on duty as a higher ranking officer. At that point the he had retired, he had worked night shift for so long that he felt like an intruder into our lives that my mother, sister, and I (the youngest of 4 kids, 2 already on their own at this point) had been living for many years. That definitely put a strain on the family and my father as well who spiraled into depression and alcoholism for a spat during his early years of retirement. Mostly his depression came from the fact that it took time for my sister and I to actually recognize him as a parental authority in our lives rather than just some guy. Now our relationship is great (15ish years later) he has some crazy stories to tell about his time but the fact that it took me until my 30s to really and truly was able to connect with my father hurts in a way when I think what our family lives could of been, instead of my mother pretty much raising me and my sister while he was just looking in from afar. Since we didn't want to guilt him about all of this we never really talked about it and it took him years and years after he retired to come to the realization of just what a strain those years of him working had put on us all. The holidays still do not seem to have that same luster and shine since the memories associated with them since usually he was working and my mother would just postpone a holiday to better fit his schedule which even then on his time felt rushed because he wanted to relax and unwind himself. Just look at it like this, no-one is going to remember that night shift you worked on a Tuesday back in September, but they will remember that time you were working during Thanksgiving Dinner or having to wake up at 4 AM just to catch a glimpse of you coming home on miserable the day after Christmas before having to turn around and take off again less than 8 hours later to work another 14+ hour shift. To this day I still think about those times when then holidays roll around, just something to ponder on, OP not something to discourage you. I just hope you, and others in your shoes, find this helpful and can really put a different perspective on things.

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