Saturday, March 25, 2017

Military Moments (with Amanda!): It's so hard to say good by

I am so excited about a new weekly Blog post from my Amanda. She is going to be doing a "Military Moments" post where she discusses and shares ideas and stories from military life. 

Saying goodbye sucks.  It doesn’t matter why you are saying goodbye. It is just hard to look at someone for what may be the last time, but will certainly be the last time for a while, and try to imagine tomorrow when they aren’t around.  This is the basis of #6 on my pro and con list of life in the military.  “Con –You have to learn to make new friends all the time.”

Last night I had the final dinner with my friend before her family PCSs to Texas. They flew out today, and I’m not sure when I’ll see her again.  I know I said the con was having to learn to make new friends all the time, but the other half of that is that you have to then say goodbye to those friends … again.

We move to a new place still thinking about the people we have just left behind and then trying to figure out how we will present ourselves to the new people we are about to meet. We are caught between never wanting to forget the people you left and trying to fully embrace the possibility of the friendships you could have. I spent the last year getting close to my friend who left.  We will call her Nikky for this post. 

She isn’t like friends I’ve made before.  Usually, I find myself becoming close friends with introverts. I’m sure it’s because I love to talk, so it’s easy for me to do that when I’m with introverts.  

Well, Nikky is even more extroverted than I am. She loves to talk as much as I do, so there was NEVER a quiet moment with the two of us. I’m sure anyone around us could attest to that.
Finding friends may not be the easiest thing, as I’ve learned well over the last 10 years in the military, but when you click with someone it seems effortless and you just know you will forever be connected.  

That’s how it was with Nikky.  

She has two boys, and my two boys loved to play with them. So that added another connection for us. The downside to this, as it always is, someone has to leave. We come into these friendships knowing that we only have a certain amount of time together. 

When you move to a remote assignment, you know the month you will be leaving when you arrive.  One of the first questions people ask each other here is how long you have left. We do it just as conversation starters, but also because we aren’t wasting a lot of effort and brain power to meet someone who’s leaving next month. We try to find people who got here around the same time we did so you aren’t floundering for your last year at a place because your friends all moved at the same time and you’ve been left behind.   That’s what I do, at least, so I can’t speak for everyone.  It’s probably my selfishness coming out, but it’s just hard to say goodbye, and it is hard to get attached to people and watch them walk away or walk away ourselves. 

We know where we are going next, so we are in the mindset of heading out. We are officially the “old” people here because we are in our last 6 months of the assignment. It has all passed in the blink of an eye. We were just getting here and setting up our house, and now we are going through each room deciding what we can live without when we move again.

The military life seems so normal to me now, but it wasn’t always like that.  I am very patriotic. Of course I am, right? My husband is in the military, so maybe it’s a requirement. I don’t know, but I am, and I always have been.  I am used to seeing my husband and a lot of other people walking around in their camo and other uniforms, but it still gets me every single time I hear them all stand up and say the Airman’s Creed.  Their voices all coming together to say that they will fight for me and defend the country I love.  I go to any event where I know they’re going to say it, and I try every time not to cry, and it just doesn’t help.  It is my most favorite thing about being surrounded by these men and women. 

But we still have to move and leave each other. We still have to make our children say goodbye to their friends and watch them cry because they just wanted to see someone one last time. They are used to moving and packing up all of their belongings, and that part doesn’t seem to bother them anymore, but it’s the people.  These people that we meet and connect with. They take a bit of us when they leave us, and we leave a bit behind every time we move. In one way, it is amazing that I know so many people spread out over this whole world, but on the other hand, I am so spread out and pieces are removed so many times that eventually I worry there won’t be enough left of me.

Saying goodbye sucks!

**For a great post on saying goodbye from a non-military family, read this:

The Airman's Creed[1]
I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my Nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to Fly, Fight, and Win.
I am faithful to a Proud Heritage,
A Tradition of Honor,
And a Legacy of Valor.
I am an American Airman.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
My Nation’s Sword and Shield,
Its Sentry and Avenger.
I defend my Country with my Life.
I am an American Airman.
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.

Opinions expressed in guest posts are not necessarily those of the station manager (i.e. Wendi!)

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