After church today, I got a phone call from my sister, Ashley. She mentioned how she happened to come across my blog today and then she started to cry. She told me how hard it was that we are so far away and that it was "not fair" that she had to see her nephews and niece growing up in pictures.
I agreed. And in fact, I started to cry, too.
I'm thousands of miles away from all the people I love so much back in NC and my family in KY and IN and I've found that lately, I am missing them more and more, on a level I've never felt before.
Here we are, almost 6 months into our new duty station and yet, I still miss my life in NC. I miss the hot spring weather. Even the storms which scared me every year! I miss my neighborhood and I even miss that damn house, our "money pit" which refused to allow grass to grow in the backyard.
This place is different. There's just no other word that can describe it. It's hard to make friends here. And it's especially difficult to make friends in a place where the average family stays only 18 months at a time--and the civilians are well aware of it, too. Who wants to make friends when you have to say another sad goodbye only months later? Military families are masters of knowing how involved to get in a community, in a neighborhood, in a church, when you know that in just months, it'll be time to leave. Again. It's a tricky balance of being able to cut ties without it affecting you too much. So, maybe that's my problem. I fell too in love with all those wonderful people back in NC! :) It's hard when, on days that I would love to take a short walk around the block of our old neighborhood in NC just so I can see a familiar, smiling face and hear an encouraging word, I can't. I miss the moms and Army wives who understand. They understood when I was having a crappy day. When I just needed to sit on a driveway and let the kids run around with their friends and get their energy out while I talked about missing Bret who was deployed or how the kids happened to be driving me crazy that day. I miss my friends who would drop in unannounced with dinner or their own kids and we'd just hang out, share a meal together, give each other pep talks and talk about what God was doing in our lives lately--even if we didn't like what was happening! And don't even get me started about how much I miss our former church! There's just no church like a Southern Baptist Church! :)
The worst part about moving away has been the feeling of being forgotten. Another friend of mine who's also moved out of the NC area and I have talked about this. She has really struggled with this and my heart has been sad for her. OUCH. The sting of feeling forgotten by all those you think about almost daily! You see pictures on Facebook of everyone "back home" in NC having fun together, carrying on like nothing's changed. When to us, everything has changed. They don't mean to come off as forgetful or not caring that you are gone, it's our feeling of being forgotten that makes it appear as so--that and our longing to be back there with them joining in on the fun! While we know in our heads that every military family has to go through it, everyone has to move at some point, everyone has to say goodbye and leave loved ones behind, you never want to be the 1st ones to go. It's just too hard knowing what you're leaving. Your family. People I spent more time with than my own husband in the last almost 4 years.
And then, there's my actual bio family that I miss. I hate how we are separated by thousands of miles and/or thousands of dollars for plane tickets. I hate that my family has had to see my children grow up through pictures and Skype although, I do thank God for the technology! This Army life was not exactly the life that I had planned for myself. I never thought I'd be bringing up my children without the physical help of my family. But then, I know in my heart that God knows what's best for our family. He has His reasons that my children don't exactly *know* their grandparents. He has His reasons for not having a single relative ever attend the birth of any of my children. He has His reasons for our being so far away from family that, "date night" means us hiring out instead of just dropping the kids off at my sister's house. He has His reasons for my kids not growing up with their cousins. He has His reasons for us not having Sunday dinner up on Grandma's farm. He has His reasons that my sister and I are going through adoption processes separately, that we can't go through it together physically, that we won't be able to stand along side each other as we sign adoption papers. He has His reasons that I won't get to hold my new niece or nephew when he/she arrives this next December. He has His reasons why we don't spend most holidays with the people we long to be with the most. He has His reasons...
It dawned on me lately that, at 30 years old, I'm finally learning the lesson of having a TRUE appreciation of the time spent with loved ones. Even those I live with daily! After all, there are no guarantees in life! I've learned to appreciate the quick phone calls, the short encouraging emails, the Facebook comments about how big the kids are getting, the rare letter that shows up in the mailbox. I'm trying not to wish our time away while we're here but, it's hard! :) I can't say that I'm not already thinking about our drive back to the east coast next summer. I can't wait to see ALL my family again. All of you! :) I can't wait to introduce you to the newest family member(s!?) and to make some plans to get together ASAP. It'll be great to be back on the east coast where a day's drive can bring us together again.
Cherish one another. Love one another even when that person acts unlovable or even if they get on your nerves--you will miss that person at some point! Cherish the time you have with the ones you love so much. 'Cause you never know where God will have you or them go next!
(I love you, Ash. I'm sorry we're so far apart. We just have to continue to trust God, knowing He's got a plan in all of this. Who knows, maybe we'll be next door neighbors one day?!)