DENVER -- For thousands of military families in Colorado, the holidays can be bitter sweet as they celebrate without their loved ones.
The Baros family is filling the void of the holiday's this year with each other.
That's because the fourth member of their family, 1st Lt. Anthony Baros is deployed with his Colorado Army National Guard unit to the Middle East .
“For us it's bittersweet,” said his wife Jen, “We're proud of our service member for giving up their time with family to serve something but it's also an empty seat at the table and a hope for next year.”
A hope that next year the seat will be filled.
The family has put together a care package to send to his remote outpost, with cards to let him know they're always thinking about him.
“I did football with him last year for my first year,” said 11-year-old Malachi Baros, “And then I tried to do it again this year and it kind of made me sad every time I went so...”
"Just another day,” said 13-year-old Raistlynn Baros, “But it is a special holiday that he is missing so that's kinda' hard.”
"We're sending him pictures all the time just kinda' keep him updated on life here and a lot of it is very quick, 'Hey how are you. We're good. We love you. We miss you,'” Jen said.
So the family pulls together what is normally dad's job and is staying strong for him even though they're 7,000 miles away from him.
“I know you guys miss me,” Jen said he told her. “But I don't want to hear it all the time because that is what's really hard is knowing I miss you guys and I can't be there and I can't alleviate the sadness. And so I think that's the case for a lot of the service members.”