“How do you do it?” It is a question that I am asked often by friends who are boggled by all the moving and starting over. Moving is the military mantra. And because of this, friendships come and go at a high rate.
Friends are such an important part of this motherhood journey. We simply cannot do it alone. It really does take a village, but what happens when your husband has a job that moves you around the country at a regular interval and you have to keep finding your village. Finding your friends. And in a way finding yourself, over and over again.
Finally comfortable then…
You finally have everything figured out and know who to put on that emergency form that the school sends home. Your life has become fairly comfortable and easy. You can at least get to all important places for your week without a GPS. You even have a list of people or at least one person you can rely on for emergencies or other unexpected life events. And then it is time to move again and you are back to what feels like square one.
I am one of those people who need to find my village every couple of years. My husband is serving in the United States Air Force and this is the third place we have lived in his 10-year career. And we are actually pretty lucky, because 3 moves in 10-years is on the smaller end of moves. But it doesn’t change the fact that we have had to uproot our lives and move across the country and start over 3 times. Each time has been a different life stage and a new adventure. Each time having their own heartache, challenges and joys.
Starting Over Again
There are so many good and bad parts about this thing we call military life, but the one thing I think that has made this whole adventure worthwhile is the friendships we have made.
Looking back on the good times is the thing that makes it a little easier to say goodbye and start again knowing there are still more people to meet and if we are lucky friends to reconnect with at our new assignment. There are more connections to be made. It has never not been worth it, even with those lonely winters in Ohio.
For some friends we say, “See you later” (because the military doesn’t like to say goodbye) and our paths will never cross again. Others we will see on occasion because social media makes it easier to stay connected, but the daily interaction fades with time and space.
But with others you said goodbye and the only thing that is missing are the play dates and occasional girl time meetups. The fact that you are now across the country doesn’t stop the frequent texts and if something really is going wrong, the panicked phone call.
They are still your person
They are the person who understands from the beginning that military moms don’t have time to skim the surface, be embarrassed or put the friendship on the back burner. They are willing to go deep and go there fast. And they love you even though they know you will be gone in a few years! That is pure magic and sometimes you get lucky and find that friend at the beginning and not the end of the cycle!
They are still your person.
The person who you want to tell “in person” not over social media that you are having a baby. And it is a boy. They are with you through life’s ups and downs. The person you can confide in when you are having a really bad day. They celebrate with you when your kid finally sleeps through the night. They are your biggest fan when you tell them about your next adventure or crazy idea.
They get you now. The real you. There is not anything hidden or off limits. They know you so well sometimes they can even figure out what is wrong without the words actually explaining it. They are there to listen. They give advice and help you get through life.
And maybe you can’t put them on your emergency contact sheet because hundreds or thousands of miles separate you. And even though time zones sometimes make actual conversations difficult. It doesn’t change the important role they play in your life. Life may have pulled you apart, but you are still connected.
So, when I’m asked, “How do you do it?” my answer is simple…with God’s grace, special friends all over the country and I just do. I can’t afford not to.