If there is one thing that is completely certain about this entirely military way of life, it’s that nothing is certain, ever. These are impermanent times we live in. From the states in which we settle to the houses we call home, schools our kids attend to units in which our servicemembers serve, none of it is constant, and everything is in a constant state of flux. It’s not a lifestyle that many would enjoy, but having a bit of wanderlust, myself, has made it an easier transition than it might have been otherwise.
One thing that is not easy, however, has been making friends. It’s not for lack of amazing people, mind you. There are incredibly kindhearted, open-armed, and willing people everywhere we’ve been. The reluctance has come from yours truly. I’ve said before that the people are both the best and worst part of this Army life for me. I’ve made amazing friends in my five-plus years as Ryan’s wife. Some we left in Arizona, others in New York. Some went on to duty stations in Tennessee, Georgia, Texas – some even overseas. In impermanent times, friends are a luxury, and it’s hard to see them come and go.
Since becoming a mother and watching my kids grow, however, I’ve discovered how important it is to find your tribe. If not for me, it’s for my children. There’s no greater gift than teaching them the art of adaptability, and I know I’ve said it time and again that military children are some of the most resilient little people I know. Take, for example, Spencer and Porter’s sweet friend, Elliott, and his twin sisters, Lydia and Sophia. These little beans are about the sweetest little people you’ll ever meet – and it doesn’t hurt that their mama and dad are rockstars, themselves.
But here’s the thing. If it hadn’t been from their mom slipping a note into Porter’s cubby at school with her name (beyond just “Elliott’s mom), along with her number, we probably would have continued with just idle chit-chat in the halls during school drop-offs. Being bold, stepping out of your comfort zone, and risking your pride for the sake of potential friendship is scary. But in some cases, it’s too scary not to.
I’ve been blessed here in Washington with great friends. I’ve learned to get a little more bold, myself, and be a little more open to the possibility of new friends in different walks of life. I’m comfortable with the fact that the good friends aren’t always a dime a dozen, and the great ones are rarer still, but finding permanent friends in impermanent times is worth it – especially during deployment. Seeing my kids play with new friends…friends I know who will remain friends long after a duty station together…is worth it tenfold.