As we are getting close to the end of this decade, I decided to go into my Shutterfly account and try to organize my photos a bit more. As I was looking through older photos I came across one from Thanksgiving 2012.
I think my husband was home, but we got together with a bunch of friends and their kids and looking at that photo brought back so many memories. Of time with this circle of friends. A group that slowly fell apart because of one move or one PCS after another.
I am actually still here, and everyone else has moved on but it really made me think about what we go through as military spouses. I thought about all the lessons we can learn during our time as a military spouse. It really made me reflected on how I have grown as a person over the years since my husband re-joined the military so many years ago. I’m sure many of you can relate 🙂
Friendships Won’t Stay the Same
I love having a friend circle. A group of other women I can talk with, vent with, and depend on. A group of other people who get me.
I am so thankful I have found this during my years as a military spouse, however, my friend circles are always temporary. Always. Sure, I am still friends with those people, we keep in touch for the most part, and follow each others lives.
But it will never be the same as it was when we all lived in the same town, or when our husbands were all deployed, or when we all had two-year-old boys to entertain, just trying to figure out how to get through the day.
Time moves own, PCSing happens, and we figure out how to say goodbye and go forward.
And that is just apart of this military life. A part that is hard to take sometimes. A part that will stop you in your tracks as you remember a fun memory or a time when you were all together.
I also know that those memories will always be with me. I will never forget the Space-A trip we took together when our husbands were deployed, the late-night shopping on Black Friday, or just the simple day-to-day moments of getting together to let the kids play.
I still value these friendships even though the miles separate us. I still think about these women, even if we never talk anymore. And I always have hope of finding new friends along the way. Not to replace the old, but to add to my life experiences.
Homesickness Can Hit Hard
I haven’t lived at my parent’s house full time since I left for college over twenty years ago. I still get homesick. I still have moments where I think for a few minutes about how I could move back.
Wherever you call home will probably always call to you in some way. Maybe it is your family, and all the fun you have together. Maybe it is the warmth you feel every time you visit your hometown. Maybe it is just longing for a place that is so imprinted on your heart, you know you will never truly let it go.
I always wanted to move away from home. I always wanted to see other places and experience different ways of living. But there is still apart of me that can get pretty homesick sometimes. It doesn’t last too long but the feeling is there.
You might be ready to take on the world. You might be living in Europe or Japan and know how exciting it is that you get to do so. And you might be hit with homesickness all the same. Hitting you in the face when you least expect it too.
I think this is just another part of military life we military spouses can experience. We are the family that doesn’t live there anymore. We can feel like the outsider. And those emotions aren’t always easy to deal with at times.
Making our new duty station or city feel like home is key. Even if we know we will only be there for a few years, we can figure out ways to connect to our community, and enjoy what is before us.
Deployments Can Be Good For Us
I never wanted my husband to deploy. The deployments were never at the right time…and always seem to throw a wrench into the plan for my life. However, in someways deployments were good for me.
I learned how to be more independent whether that meant taking care of two toddlers by myself or learning to mow the lawn and other chores I otherwise never would have done.
I figured out that I am stronger than I think I am. I figured out that I could do things that I never dreamed were possible. And that if I have to do them in the future, I can handle what comes our way.
I learned how I can truly be a good friend to a struggling military spouse and how to let people help when I was the one in need.
Deployments can be too long and make you just want to cry but they can also help you grow as a person. I will always be thankful for that.
Plans Change And That’s Okay
How many times have plans changed for you as a military spouse? Maybe you went through an unexpected deployment or a PCS to a place you never thought you would end up. Whatever it is, you start to get used to things always changing in the military.
I really learned this during our 15-month deployment that was at one point only supposed to be 9 months, then later 12. I learned this when I was told it would take just about a month to join my husband in Germany and we had to wait 4.5. I learned this when he deployed for the 3rd time and we weren’t sure if he would be gone for 5 months or over a year.
Things change all the time and nothing can feel predictable. But…sometimes these changes end up bringing us to a better place. Sometimes these changes lead us to places and people we never would have imagined. Sometimes these changes were exactly what we needed in our life.
This isn’t to say that every time the military changes its mind we should be happy about it. It’s okay to be frustrated but it can also give us an opportunity for growth and change that we never would have had otherwise. A chance to embrace something a little scary and see where that might lead.
What lessons have you learned as a military spouse this last year?
Don’t forget to check out The Newbie’s Guide to Military Life: Surviving a PCS and More by Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and Mrs Navy Mama. Your guide for learning about military life.