Last night, I went with a friend to a monthly Bible Study and fellowship designed specifically for military wives. While I am not one to take a sanctimonious view of the military lifestyle or think of myself as a special suzy snowflake just because my husband’s job happens to be in the Army, I do recognize the impact that situations unique to the military have on myself and my family (e.g. deployments, extended TDYs, multiple PCS’s, a ridiculous amount of acronyms to learn, etc…). I had a great time connecting with fellow spouses and appreciated the frank discussion about the difficulties associated with parenting. Plus there were Rice Krispy treats readily available for consumption. What is not to love about that?
At one point, the conversation focused on the multiple moves and ‘starting overs‘ that children face with a parent (or two) in the military. Even though Weston is currently living in his third state and fifth house (not counting the month(s) spent in temporary lodging) in his three years of existence, we haven’t really experienced the growing pains the occur with PCS (permanent change of station) moves with elementary, middle, and high school children. Our little guy is still just that – little. When the time comes for us to leave the Washington DC area, he will still likely be too young to fully grasp the concept of leaving one life behind to begin another one someplace completely different. While Clay and I fully embrace the sense of adventure that accompanies such change, I know that there is a possibly that our children will not. All I have to do is think back to the middle of my 7th grade year – my family moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania and it was just about the worst thing that could have happened to 13-year-old Karen.
13-year-old Karen. I know you’re jealous of the hot dog bun bangs. Admit it.
I survived. And I even eventually thrived. But it was still a ridiculously hard transition for a teenage girl. So it is important for me to remember that while a ‘suck it up, buttercup‘ attitude works for me as an adult (big girl panties and all), it probably will not work on our children. In our case, their father will be leaving for extended periods of time – sometimes to very dangerous places and we will move frequently to places we’ve never been before. Long story short, I know there will be tough times ahead…that is just a fact of life.
However, we also believe the benefits associated with the military lifestyle outweigh the drawbacks for our family (I realize this may not be the case for everybody and that is totally okay) – otherwise we would not be on this crazy ride. Our children will enter adulthood knowing how to adapt to new places, they will experience different cultures within our country and throughout the world, they will have had the opportunity to travel to some wonderful places, and they will meet a wide variety of people they otherwise may not have met. Our hope as parents is to show our children the world (figuratively and literally) and foster an environment that promotes love, service, and a thirst for life. So while I will not be taking a ‘suck it up, buttercup‘ approach to the military lifestyle with our children, I will focus on the positives and try my hardest to shape our little gifts into well-rounded individuals. And pray that they don’t become goth.
Nicolas Cage’s son. Also named Weston.