To The Military Community

I didn’t get it for a long time. My husband is the social one. I ALWAYS have a great time when we go places and attend parties or other such work functions, but my nature is to be more of a homebody. Putting myself out there, having “witty repartee” with strangers while not simultaneously spilling a drink on someone or falling down in heels I can barely walk in, or some other such social faux pas = my worst nightmare. I have visions of finding myself in awkward social situations (think Bridget Jones) but really, those moments never materialize, we have a great time and I usually  have something in common with at least one person. Enough that a semi-intelligent conversation is possible.

Driving home last night after visiting a friend in Seattle, I look out over the bay at the city lights and was thinking about how our new town is comprised of a majority of military and retired military families. How long it took me to fully embrace our military family!

Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island
Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island (Photo credit: brewbooks)

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was reluctant. For the first years of our marriage, we chose to live off base. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it definitely sets you apart. There is something unique, intangible, and understood about living amongst fellow spouses. Living on base for the first time at our last duty station taught me that.

There is something to be said for having other spouses who know exactly what you’re going through. We can all knowingly nod our heads as we talk about crazy movers, the heartbreak of saying goodbye to friends yet again, or having your kids each born in a different state, or country! Having to keep it together long enough to comfort the little ones when they don’t understand why mommy or daddy have to leave AGAIN, changing schools for the umpteenth time, and all the other stuff that goes with this life is just understood.

To the military community: For the immediate acceptance of our family, even though you don’t know us, I thank you. For the smiles as we walk to the playground, thank you. For the welcome to the neighborhood hug, thank you. For teaching my children, as well as me, resilience, thank you. For teaching me to stop resisting what is, and embrace it – I thank you.

I thank you.

And I won’t take it for granted.

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Wonder-Full Wednesday: Home

Since we are smack dab in the middle of moving, I can surely tell you the things I am not grateful for (boxes, a sea of paper, not being able to find things, etc.)

What I am grateful for this week revolves around the idea of home. More than just the platitude of “home is where your heart is” (or where the Navy sends you), home is, or ideally should be, a place of peace and relaxation – that “ahhhh” feeling. Granted, with 2 and 4 year olds, that “relaxation/ahhh” feeling is probably more in my dreams than in reality, but you get my point.

While I’m all for making the best out of any housing situation, I am especially grateful for our new little base house. It’s clean (a must for this OCD curly mama!), it has a GIANT kitchen with lots of space to chop, cook, and prep wonderful food to nourish my family, beautiful tile flooring and a place for me to read and write. Does it make me a shallow person that I truly identify with Oprah’s statement that your home should “rise up to greet you”? There is something that resonates with living in a pretty space. I can look out my windows and see (albeit a sliver) of ocean in two directions, as well as the currently snow-capped Olympic mountains to the west, and the Cascades to the east. It really is stunning. (And randomly, it gets only 22 inches of rain per year vs. 37 inches in Seattle!) Still grey and windy – but I’ll take it!

I am grateful for the responses of my kidlets when I asked them if they were glad we moved to “our new house”. They emphatically cheered that they loved the new playground! (It’s like 5 playgrounds in 1! It’s HUGE!)

I am grateful for the running trail I’m itching to get going on.

I am grateful for the cute little back yard. (Yes, I will still enjoy my mowing stripes!) There is room for the swing set as well as running around getting sillies out!

I am grateful all the little things like spacious closets (to hold all 4 of my husband’s bowling balls that he insists he needs), big picture windows, large bedrooms, and a garage that will fit both cars.

For all of these superficial, physical things I am very grateful. Because of these, there is a space to play, to create, to dream, and to grow. This space will help me nurture and love my kids well. This space will be home to our family.

At least until the Navy tells us it’s time to move on….