A long time ago, I accepted that there were going to be some things about military life that I really adore… and that there would be other aspects of it that I really despise. (Check out the links at the end of this article!) This weekend, I was having a serious love/hate relationship with military life. On the one hand, the transient nature of military life has made it possible for me to have a multitude of amazing friends. There is probably not a spot left in the country that I can’t fondly say “Oh, my friend so and so lives there.” I am blessed with an abundance of incredible people that I truly care about… all over this great land. So I have to say, on my list of things I adore about military life… making wonderful friends is on the very top of my list. Right under having a never-ending supply of Ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet.
But, ah… there is a hate side to this coin, isn’t there? I have lost count of the dear friends who we have had to hug goodbye, either because of our PCS move or theirs. It never gets easier. Sure, social media takes a bit of the sting out of missing great friends… but we all know it just isn’t the same. It pains me to see my kids friends grow up just through images or cute sayings on Facebook. Not being able to hug a friend who is going through a tragedy, or celebrate with them when they have achieved something great… or if it is just Friday and you both made it through another week without anyone visiting the ER.
I miss my friends.
This weekend one of my favorite people on the planet gave birth to her second child, a beautiful baby girl. This friend, (let’s just call her “Sophie”) is, in a word, delightful. Everything about her. She is talented, smart, and witty. She is that friend who just doesn’t have an evil bone in her body… except when someone has hurt someone she loves. You can trust her with every secret known to man, and she won’t even judge you for it. She is loyal, kind and compassionate. She genuinely wants the best for other people. She makes me laugh every time we talk. She will talk a friend off the same ledge 100 times if need be. She KNOWS who she is, and KNOWS who the people she calls friends are. She doesn’t let other people change her view on either. See… I told you. Delightful
We talked on the day she went into labor, and I was privy to details and updates throughout the process from her husband. I woke up the next morning to a text message with a picture of mom and brand new baby. I smiled, and then I sobbed. I was instantly in love with this little girl. For many months her mother had shared details of her pregnancy with me, as we speak almost every single day. Actually speak on the phone… something that is rare for me, the Queen of the Text Message. I was eager to learn her name, see what the nursery was looking like, to find out how big sister was dealing with the impending change to the family dynamic. And then, the day finally came… my friend was in labor, 1900 miles away. I may have given her husband a run for his money in the “pacing the floors” category.
I cannot stand not being there with Sophie and her wonderful family. There is nothing else in the world that sounds better than holding that little baby, playing with big sister, and visiting with my friend. I wish that our families were right next door… so that our children could grow-up together. I wish this every day… but when I look at pictures of this beautiful new life, it just breaks my heart in two.
The reality is that I would not know Sophie if it were not for military life, and for that I am grateful. She has enriched my life in ways that I will never be able to express. I am making plans to go visit her soon, but I wonder how hard it will be to say goodbye.
I am tired of “goodbye”.
I have this dream… a grand scheme, if you will. To buy a big piece of property when we retire. We would fence it all in and build homes for all of our very dearest friends. We can all live on this big piece of property; having cookouts in the summer, our kids playing outside for hours. We could sit in lawn chairs and watch them while we share our lives in person… with a glass of tea, or wine… or two.
But, for now, I will have to settle for technology and long phone conversations. And I am also now in the market for a reliable but used private jet. You know, with all of that fortune my husband makes as a service member. Will need to come with a pilot who is ready at all hours and on a moment’s notice… so I can fly to celebrate the next big moment in one of my wonderful friends’ lives. Or, you know… an ER-free Friday.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bagalute/7135846335/”>bagalute</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>