“How was it?”
“It was fine. But I’m tired of new.”
My mama heart broke. And so did that part of my heart that has been shaped by military life.
Every move, every new place, we talk about the new things we will see, the new people we will meet, the adventures we are lucky to experience. We talk about the opportunities we have that most people don’t. It’s as much of a pep talk for me as it is for them.
Because the truth is that I crave the old, I crave roots.
I want my kids to graduate from high school with kids they’ve known since kindergarten.
I want to look around my house and remember where they took their first steps, sobbed for their dad during deployment, celebrated their 13th birthday.
I want my kids to get married in a church they’ve been in since they were born.
I want to be surrounded by adults who knew my kids as babies, who knew me as a newlywed.
I want to stay in one town long enough to be able to say “Remember when that shopping center was nothing but a cornfield.” I want my kids to be able to say that to their kids.
I love military life, too, though.
I found out why so many parts of the country shut down when the rare snow appears.
I found out that the Empire Carpet commercial wasn’t just a Midwest thing.
I found out how to survive in the desert.
I found out what it is like to be the minority person in a sea of people whose skin color didn’t match my own.
I found out what both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean looked like.
I found out that the image of a rainy Seattle I had isn’t reality.
I found out that I love being surrounded by other languages, other foods, other cultures.
I found out that home really is where the army sends you.
So I walk this line of loving the new experiences and the new people while also having a constant desire to stay put. I walk the line of showing my kids new places and new experiences while also creating a sense of roots and a sense of home that aren’t locked into a location.
When we were still new to military life, the excitement and possibilities of our life to come overrode my cravings to stay put. Now we’re closer to retirement. Now we’ve watched more friends get out of the military or work themselves into stable lives. Now we are even further away from a time in life when we thought we knew where we’d stay put. And those craving for roots, for people to know me and my history, to not be new…oh, how those feelings are more intense now!
With years until we retire, and another move or two before we can place roots, there’s not much time (or mental energy) to spend thinking on those things, though. I have TDYs to handle, kids to homeschool, deployments to soldier through. I have boxes to pack (and unpack!), new places to explore and a home to make. I have tears to wipe, small bodies to hold and friends to make.
my kids will see the experiences and places more than the shallow roots.
that home to them will always be where family & friends-like-family gather.
that roots will grow quickly in a welcome soil when that time comes.