My son came home from school recently telling me about all the places his classmates are moving to. Among them were Hawaii, Germany, and Texas. He said, “I wish they weren’t moving, Mama. It’s kind of sad.”
You see, we moved to our new duty station two and a half months ago. We have just started making new friends, connecting with old friends from past duty stations, and introduced ourselves to the neighbors. It’s a strange thing to say goodbye to someone almost as soon as you say hello.
My son is now old enough to appreciate, fear, and feel frustrated by the revolving door of PCS cycles that slingshots families to new homes around the world. It is, after all, more natural to make friends and keep them for a while than it is to say goodbye six months later. My own experiences mirror this: sometimes the most connected friends I’ve had were the ones I shared a town with for only a year or so. And when I look back on the towns, the homes, the friends, schools, churches, and units that our family has been part of, often just one particular piece sticks out as something that I miss. Other times, it’s the weather at a particular duty station that I long for. Lately, I miss our proximity to the beach while we lived at our third duty station. Also, I miss the convenience of living so close to a Target at our fourth!
What I’ve learned is that as a parent, I have something powerful in providing a framework through which my kids can see the world. If I dwell on the past, they surely will, too. If I get excited about what’s waiting for us after this duty station, they pick up on that. Better yet, if I allow space for us to feel the nervousness, fear, excitement, disappointment, and joy that military life brings with each new season, they might feel comfortable in their own emotions.
Our own outlook can shape our children’s perspective. In the end, we military spouses have a choice: we can find bitterness in the inevitable cycle of goodbyes that military life demands, or we can be thankful and say, “How lucky are we to have so many good people and places to miss?”
As a military family, do you ever have those “How lucky are we?” moments?
Posted by Teresa Banner, military spouse and NMFA Volunteer, Ft. Leavenworth, KS