They say military children are like dandelions. They can put down roots almost anywhere. They are impossible to destroy. They adapt easily and can survive nearly anywhere. Military children bloom everywhere the wind carries them and they stand ready to fly into breezes to take them into new adventures, new lands and new friends.
We have been learning something about that. After living in one place for so long, it seemed like it took awhile for our breeze to come. That is something pretty unheard of for a lot of military families.
So when our orders to a new duty station arrived, we followed our adventure into a land unknown, away from everything that was familiar to us. We suddenly found ourselves really feeling the military lifestyle for the first time. I knew we would be happy, but never had I imagined we would ever forge such strong bonds with so many special people so soon.
But that's how it goes with this life. When you move you say goodbye to the ones you love and you make new friends, and quickly too. Part of you yearns for that feeling of familiar, the feeling of comfort, and the feeling of family. Part of you knows that you’re never really sure how long you have.
In our military family, we are all living on borrowed time. Diving into fast friendships is an emotional risk that comes with the job. But we know that experiencing the sadness of someday having to say goodbye is still worth more than never having that friend at all.
Still, it isn’t easy. It wears us out. But somehow our military kids fall into stride seamlessly, creating new friendships and embracing this life they were born into with their whole heart.
In the short time we’ve been in our new home, already we have made friendships that we know will last long beyond our current duty station. We have already said goodbye to some of our new friends, in turn welcoming the new neighbors that come behind them.
We welcome them with anticipation, and perhaps with hesitation, bracing ourselves for the change that constantly takes place in our community. We wonder: Will they be nice? Will they have children? Will they be the people with whom we’ll make lifelong memories?
So as our friends follow their breeze and head toward new adventures, we will surely miss them. But the time we had together, however brief, has surely left a mark in our lives and in our hearts that can never be lost in a move. These friendships, developed over wine nights and bar-b-cues, popsicles and pinky swears, will be ours forever.
And should our breezes ever come together again someday, we will enjoy the chance we are given to stop and play for awhile.
Mary Douglas is a Navy spouse currently living in San Diego after being stationed in Virginia Beach for 11 years. She told us, "In a former life, I worked in an advertising agency as a PR Sr. Acct. Executive, but after welcoming our second child in July 2012, I'm now staying home attending to the needs of my two most important clients! We have two boys, Ryan, 5, and Evan, 11 mos, and have been enjoying every second of the West Coast life. This was our first PCS and it has been such an incredible experience for our family. We enjoy hiking, camping, riding bikes, running and generally just spending time outdoors, soaking up the perfect weather here in San Diego!"