Last night our youngest, Jack Attack, our wild, adventure seeking, big-hearted, giant of a 7 year old came downstairs after bedtime with tears pouring down his cheeks. He flung himself across my lap and sobbed heavily into my chest.
We are on the cusp of moving season you see. An exhilarating, heat-wrenching, make or break you season that comes every 3 years (or sooner) for our family.
On the exhilarating side our family researches new travel destinations, attractions we can visit, what there is to do out and around our new duty station. This has always been the side I have focused on. In the snooty side of my brain I have proudly thought “my kids are so well adjusted, look how they happily jump from place to place”, or “kids feed off their parents energy, I must be doing such a stellar job at showing them how to adapt”. Y’all can roll your eyes at me and shake your head…go on…I know….it was incredibly naïve.
All our previous moves were done while the boys were still young, while their entire bubble of love and laughter and life had been done pretty much within our circle of four.
But this move is different. This move is an animal of its own and it’s teaching me some big things about raising military kids and becoming the momma they need me to be.
While I have always been blessed to have some sort of village of sisters that come with each move ~ one of the greatest blessings a military wife can have ~ this duty station brought a village of brothers for my boys.
Military family is something that I reserved for myself, of course my friends have kids and they play with mine. But in my younger years these wives were solely MY tribe, my web. I call them sisters~our lives forever linked by what our husbands do. Whether current or past I know they love me and in a pinch would rally for a need. I know that I can call one from states away, sometimes even oceans and their voice sounds like home. These beautiful women, collected from all of the country, are little gems that have been tucked into my heart are my lifeline. Like glimmering strands of a web stretched all over this world. They catch me when I fall and help me hold on to what is important. Making this not so normal journey a whole lot sweeter.
But as I held my boy and listened to his words I realized that he and his brother have created their own village of people. Their own tribe to help them navigate this world. In the past three years they have grown together like brothers, zigging and zagging between houses, making up wild games of good guys and bad guys. There have been scuffles and tears of course, but as a whole my boys have carved out for themselves their people.
So now I have entered a new phase of parenting a military child. It’s no longer about ramping up the exhilarating side of a move and zooming full speed ahead. Now it’s time to pull out the heart-wrenching seam ripping aspect of this life and allow my children time to examine it, feel it, hold it up to us and ask us to grieve with them.
I’m going to take a break on telling them how much more incredible our next move will be, our next house will be, how epic the adventures will be. That all may be true. But I’m going to press pause on it. I’m going to meet them in their pain, let the weight of these goodbyes nestle deep down.
And then…..I’m going to teach them how to turn these friends into a web, how to tuck them as gems into their heart, and how strength comes from all these tiny threads that weave back and forth across this country and world. Because it’s okay to be sad, to not want to say goodbye; it’s okay that my kids don’t want to move, don’t want to leave their friends. I finally see that it is actually healthy! I am thankful to see that after all the moves they have experienced in their short lives their hearts are still able to make connections, build relationships, seek community.
This band of brothers will become the beginning of their web and I’m thankful it is so sticky.