Tuesday, February 11, 2014

mommy/military confessions: moving with little ones

When I first became a military spouse, the thought of moving around the country/world, seeing new places and making new friends, sounded exciting. I knew that as long as Matt and I had each other we could do anything. And it seems like wherever you go there is a welcoming military community waiting for you. Naturally there would be moments of fear and awkwardness, but it had to be better than being stuck in the town I grew up in. I loved being near my family but I knew that town had nothing for me and it wasn't where I pictured myself living forever. 

So it was a pretty easy 'yes' to Matt when he asked me to move out to DC to be with him. We got married, enjoyed our time on the east coast near his wonderful family, and then moved back to San Diego. And three years later we got orders to Monterey. Another beautiful city right on the water. Matt would get a little time off from his ship and I would get to spend more time with my side of our family. It was the perfect time for them to bond with Charlotte too. With every one of those moves we were excited and thrilled, it was something we were looking forward to.

A few months ago when we started negotiating for orders to our next duty station, I felt this change in me. I didn't want to move around anymore. And some of the places on the list, they were just too far from anyone or anything we knew. I was less and less excited about moving and finding a house, and more and more fearful. What had changed?! One word: Charlotte. Now that she was in the picture things weren't as easy breezy as they used to be. The thought of moving just wasn't as adventurous as when it was just the two of us. We had to think about how it would affect her and what kind of support system we would have at our new place. Having children changes everything. I know, breaking news! Alert the press! Having kids is life changing! No, but seriously, moving around when there are kids in the picture just isn't as fun. And it's not because they are young and you can't live in an apartment in the city. You have to think about the schools or other age appropriate activities near by. It would be ideal to get a house with a yard, not to mention a bigger house than before so you can accommodate your growing family pile of toys. Not to mention looking into the neighborhood crime rates and keeping an eye on those child predators. And the list goes on….

More than any of that, it sucks that these little ones change so quickly. I was gone for one weekend and I felt like she learned at least 10 new things. In an ideal scenario, our entire family would be just around the corner, able to rush over and witness each milestone. But sadly, that is just not the case. And it sucks. Big time. This last year has been wonderful because my side of the family has been a short drive away. Easy for long weekend visits and special occasions. And when we move, we will have the exact same scenario, but with Matt's side of the family. I just wish we could have both.

You see, I grew up in the same town as my entire family. My grandparents were a huge part of my life. (I still have a very close relationship with my Grandma) I saw them all the time. They picked us up from school almost every day. And my aunts lived in the same neighborhood as us. We could walk to their house! We vacationed together in the summer. And of course, I want Charlotte to have all those things too. I want to recreate the best parts of my childhood for her. But I cannot. She may never live 10 minutes from her Grandparents, so close they can pick her up from school if she gets sick. And it breaks my heart. And it is all because we are a military family.

I thought eventually I would get used to the moving around and having to travel to see family, but now I know I never will. It's going to be hard every single time. And we will cry when we have to say goodbye after a visit, because not seeing someone for months is just way too long. And because a 5+ hour flight is terrible. Ugh. And because Charlotte is going to change so much during that time.

My hope is that even though we may be far away, that with FaceTime and phone calls we can all keep in touch, send videos, and Charlotte can maintain those wonderful relationships with everyone from a distance. And someday, maybe we can all live close together. Clutes & Halls in our own little cul de sac. Haha! 

Unfortunately, this post doesn't come with some magical solution to home sickness. Lord knows I sure wish it did. It is part of being a military family. (And sometimes even a non military family) It comes with the territory. Yes I knew (kinda sorta) what I was in for when I signed on the dotted line, but having a little one makes it all the more difficult and sad. Just know that as a fellow military spouse and mommy, I feel your pain and understand exactly what you are going through. 

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