Ross Family Celebrates Christmas As Three Sons Serve In Iraq

SPOKANE — With Christmas now just a few days away, a lot of people are looking forward to spending time with friends and family. But, for the Ross family in south Spokane, it will be a bittersweet Christmas, because much of their family will spend the holiday half a world away.

The Ross family has eight kids and 14 grandkids, so you can imagine the holidays are a little crazy at their house. This year, though, it will be a bit quieter, as their thoughts are in Iraq with three of their sons, now three soldiers.

On every street, in every town, in houses all across America, the spirit of Christmas brings families home.

“I’m very fortunate to have the kids that are here, here,” says Rhonda Ross.

The Ross home in south Spokane is always full. Rhonda and Robin Ross had eight kids in 12 years. Now, they’re grandparents of 14.

But, this year, Christmas will be different.

“They left November 10th, 11th and 16th,” Rhonda says.

Randy, Ragen and Robby Ross are three of Rhonda and Robin’s seven sons. Until last year, they were all three plumbers. Now, they are all Private First Class Ross, U.S. Army, serving in Iraq.

“We’re a pretty patriotic family,” says Rhonda, “so to have them over there, it means a lot.”

That patriotism is all over their house, from the walls, to the tree to the camo the grandchildren wear. Most notably, on the front window of their home among the decorations and lights, three simple stars, one for each son away at war.

“It’s really an honor to be their mother,” Rhonda says.

It’s just coincidence that Robby, Randy and Ragen deployed within days of each other. Each is stationed at a different base and joined the army at different times.

But, the parallels here at home are heartbreaking. Each left behind a wife and children, two had babies born just before they left.

“The day he left we were talking,” says Catrina Ross, Robby’s wife, “and I told him the hardest thing about him being gone was being away from his kids, cause he’s a great dad

Robby left home just weeks after baby Brinley was born. She brought their three kids down from Alaska to be with Robby’s family for Christmas.

“We have webcams,” Catrina says, “so we’re going to have him on the webcam and us on the webcam, so he can see them open their presents, so that will be nice.”

And, instead of feeling bitter towards the war that took her husband away, she’s gracious, comforted by Robby’s family and the words he spoke when he left home.

“He told me he might miss Brinley’s first step,” she says, “but him being over there might make it possible for other children to have their first step.”

That’s the consensus among the whole Ross family, that Robby, Ragen and Randy will spend Christmas there to ensure our safety back here.

“It’s a sacrifice that we’re not seeing them,” Rhonda says. “But, it takes people willing to sacrifice to live in a land that we live in.”

So, this year there will be a couple chairs empty at the Christmas eve dinner table. Uncles may have to pick up where dads left off, but the Ross family will never feel sorry for themselves. There’s no room for that. There’s too much love and too much pride.

“I wouldn’t change it,” Rhonda says. “I’m very proud of them.”

While this war will not stop for Christmas, this family will wait forever.