I received two (very nice by the way) comments disagreeing a bit with my perspective on saying good bye and the nature of the military life. They were comments from military brats, and both these gals were encouraging me to see this as more of an adventure instead of looking at the difficult aspects of the military.
I was a kid raised by a father in the Navy. I remember the moves, good byes, and the adventures. I think you need to change your thinking - you aren't necessarily telling your friends good bye "forever" - you never know when you will meet up again. It has been unbelievable to me how frequently my family stays in touch/visits with people from those "good old days." Plus, when you travel, you never know - your friends might be in that state/country. Your kids and you will be sad to say good bye, but that doesn't mean that when JB joins civilian life, you will never have to say good bye to someone again! Plus, there are TONS of perks to being a military family (just my opinion!)....
The other anonymous commenter wrote:
I'm with MtnGirl, I LOVED being a military "brat" and moving every 2 or 3 years. I love the adventure of discovering a new place or country, meeting new people, and rediscovering old friends in a new country. I would recommend it for anyone! To me, the perks far outway the disadvantage.
I agree with a lot of what these gals said. I specifically agree with the following points:
- You aren't saying good bye forever.
- You never know when you will meet up again.
- When you travel, you can reunite with these old friends.
- You can meet tons of new people.
- You will have to say good bye in civilian life as well.
- Discovering a new place and adventure is exciting.
- I would recommend (this life) for anyone.
- The perks outweigh the disadvantages.
I also think that some people handle this life better than others.
While I do not know either of these gals personally, I would imagine that they are both outgoing people who made friends fairly easily. But not everyone is like that. I have witnessed how hard this life can be for people who are a bit different, don't fit into a certain mold, or have difficulty making friends.
In addition, I definitely think that I must give myself permission and time to grieve the fact that this summer I will say good bye to a few people that have really touched my life. I have now lived in three different locations with Nick & Kristy (Eglin, Turkey, and here). Carla become a sister both in life and in the Lord during a very difficult time in my life. And they both live right around the corner from me! There are also a few other ladies (like Sonia) who I was just really getting to know when it became time to say good bye. Even if I am embracing this life, this is difficult.
I remember when I lived on Eglin AFB. I became good friends with a Colonel's wife and her family. She had been in the military both as a child and as a grown up. And yet, when it came time to say good bye, she chose to just not see me again during her last week on Base. "I hope you understand," she wrote to me later, "That avoiding the good bye was my way of coping." Here is a woman who has lived this life her whole life, and she was still grieving the abundance of good byes.
While civilian life does include partings, the extent to which they occur in the military life is obviously, drastically different. I think it is pretty safe to say that if I were living a civilian life, I wouldn't probably have to say good bye to two of our closest families at the exact same time. I also wouldn't be doing it while living in a foreign country.
An adventure? Absolutely.
And that is okay.
When I left Eglin, I left a fantastic group of women who supported me during residency. It hurt.
When I left Turkey, I left an incredible group of women who supported me during my years overseas. It stunk.
This time, I am not leaving. Instead, I am saying good bye while they are moving on to other adventures. This feels hard in a different way. I imagine it is coupled with pregnancy hormones and just not feeling great, but either way, this season is challenging me. I must allow myself to grieve that.
And to know that I'll be just fine.
I must also acknowledge that my kids are going to grieve. They should grieve losing four close friends at the same time. Will they be okay? Of course. Will they move on? Absolutely. Will they bounce back? For sure.
I'd love to keep the dialogue going on this. Anyone else want to chime in?