Suck It Up, Buttercup

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.

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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.

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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-and-weston-cage{source}

Nicolas Cage’s son. Also named Weston.

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9 thoughts on “Suck It Up, Buttercup

  1. crankycaregiver February 20, 2013 / 10:00 am

    Great Post. As a ex-military wife, I worried about the constant change and travel. But, you’ve got the right attitude to carry it off.

    • Karen February 22, 2013 / 7:43 am

      Thanks! I hope that the transitions aren’t too tough on our little ones but I guess we won’t know until the time comes.

  2. Debra Sines February 20, 2013 / 12:10 pm

    Karen, I like reading your insights as to your coming life. And while everyone one is different, I also was moved in the middle of 7th grade. But for me, the move was not a hard one. I actually looked forward to our new life. Like your younger siblings, it was my 2nd move-the first one between Kindergarten and 1st grade.
    Keep up the great attitude, and the little ones will adapt.

    • Karen February 22, 2013 / 7:44 am

      Thank you, Aunt Deb. I wish I had a pleasant experience in 7th grade but to be honest, the year was hell for me. Totally one of my darkest years. 😦

  3. Jen February 21, 2013 / 3:09 pm

    I also moved around that age. I turned 12 the day we moved and started 7th grade in a very different environment.

    For us, the good outweighs the bad, but i think its worth acknowledging that not all kids adapt readily.

    I guess the one good thing about having children older, is that my the time Jason retires from the Air Force, Nolan we only be in second grade, not seventh.

    • Karen February 22, 2013 / 7:42 am

      I really feel bad for children in high school…it is tough to move in high school. And when college selection is concerned, it isn’t unheard of for a child to stay behind to finish junior and senior year at a better-performing school to increase their chances of attending a good school for post-secondary education. It’s a difficult situation all the way around.

  4. threelittlebaers February 25, 2013 / 4:51 pm

    You have a great attitude! As you know, both DH and I are military brats and went to 3 different high schools. It wasn’t ideal, but our sports and activities helped us both to adapt to the new schools quickly. It isn’t nearly as horrible as my parents thought it would be! 🙂

  5. Christie February 26, 2013 / 3:16 am

    Karen-
    I really enjoyed this post. It hit very close to home as Isabella is having a hard time understanding what’s going on and why we aren’t ‘home’. And while I’m sure once we finish this PCS and stop sleeping on ferries and in different hotels every night and actually get settled in a house she’ll be fine. It still upsets me when she asks me if we can go home and I have to try and explain the best I can to a 3 year old what’s going on.

  6. June March 13, 2013 / 8:33 pm

    If you meet my son now, you would never know that he had a gothic phase. He’s been active duty Navy (enlisted E-6) for 7 years now. His current wardrobe is preppy (think dark jeans, button down shirt, pea-coat, etc). But during high school, it was punk hair, black clothes, listening to kill everyone music, so on. He was a sweet kid inside so we let it go but it was a long time in dealing with the public (so many dirty looks our way). So if your lovely boy goes “dark”, just remember he is still the sweet kid who is helping you find clothes for his younger sister while his day is deployed (again) and doesn’t even notice the dirty look from the older lady across the aisle (true story).

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