When I was six years old, my family moved two blocks. It was such a short move that the movers propped one side of our swing set on the backside of the open moving van while my dad and another mover carried the other end as they walked the 0.2 miles to the new house. I remember riding in the car with my mom — I was probably in the front seat since it was the 80s — and watching them. My parents haven’t moved since, and it has been almost 31 years.
I never, in a million years, would have thought that I would marry a guy who ended up making his career in the Air Force. Since meeting close to 15 years ago, we have collectively lived in four states and soon-to-be three countries.
Every time we move, it all starts over. Sometimes it is easier like when we moved to my hometown of St. Louis. Sometimes I think it will be easier like when we moved back to San Antonio, which is where I went to college. No matter what, I have to find my spot and MY people and that takes time.
The older I get, the more I realize how hard it can be to break into an established group. Those people may like you a lot, but there is a difference between liking you and thinking to include you. So, even though people I know surround me, military life is full of lonely moments.
As we are on the brink of another huge move, bringing three small children with us this time, I find myself sad for many reasons. To quote Andy from The Office, “I wish there was a way to know you are in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
No matter how much you love or hate a place, the good always shines as you are packing up.
I have spent most of the last month mourning what my children will miss. My six-year-old is well aware of what is coming. I don’t have to mourn for her. She has been openly doing it for months. The other two can’t see it, but I see the friends they love who will be left behind, and the places they love to go that won’t move with us. Children are creatures of habit. I am the same way because I find comfort in things like going back to the same beach condo year after year.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” – A.A. Milne
It’s difficult to say goodbye to the place you’ve lived; it can be as hard as saying goodbye to a living, breathing person. This brings me to when the PCS orders finally arrive, the immensity of it actually sets-in, regardless of your feelings of excitement or sorrow. This is followed by the next step of telling those people that you will be leaving. More often than not, they start to pull away long before you are actually waving “adieu” through your rearview mirror. It is almost as if those people don’t want to get hurt, so they distance themselves (probably when I need them the most).
Either way, the end can be just as lonely as the beginning.
So that brings us to today, or rather to six months ago when the idea for Military Moms Blog first hatched. You hear the phrase that the military is small, and you will see familiar faces again. This is true, especially with things like email, social media, and the end of long distance phone charges. You can find those people no matter where you go. Maybe you are new to this and are starting your first assignment or maybe you are like me, where you have lived so many places that it takes you a second to identify and place a person. Regardless, Julie, the other co-founder of Military Moms Blog, and I decided we want to make this journey a little easier while making the community of military moms feel a little smaller.
We want to help you settle into a new place, find new friends, discover activities for your family, learn tips on things like PCSing, TRICARE, and military discounts. We want to help you encourage resiliency in your children, feel supported as a parent, and, finally, learn the meaning of all of those darn military acronyms! Military Moms Blog is this community, and you will help us succeed by asking questions, requesting information and resources, and sharing as we navigate military life as moms. Please join us on this journey.
Share Military Moms Blog with your people — both the friends you have had forever and the ones you met at the commissary who just arrived to their assignment wide-eyed and full of questions — and help us make this a valuable resource and community for you.
Thank you and happy reading!