I am not one of those women that shy away from friendships with other spouses. I need them. They are essential in every area of life, but especially in the military spouse community.
Instantly, we understand each other before we have even spoken. Another military spouse gets the trials and tribulations you face daily. They also share the overwhelming pride you experience in this unique lifestyle. Those connections are instantly there, but, of course, deepening friendships takes time.
So, it never fails that my tribe of amazing friends seems to solidify about six months before I move to my next duty station. In the last three months before moving, I make some undeniable connections and our personalities hit it off. Right as our new orders roll in.
Upon getting orders, I immediately start internet stalking our new destination. There’s the undeniable excitement of exploring a new community. What are the must eat restaurants in our new area? Which neighborhood has the best schools? Is it better to live on post or off? What type of family activities does the new area offer?
Life as a military spouse suits an adventurous personality well. There will be endless possibilities to explore if you are open to the opportunity. Every nook and cranny offers different cuisines to try and new areas to traverse. There’s a part of me that loves and embraces this.
What I don’t love is saying those heartbreaking “see you later” to my friends. The ones I just made deep friendships with. Pulling up those roots that we put down out of necessity. You’d think it gets easier, but somehow it doesn’t.
Moving duty stations is a mix of undeniable excitement for new adventures to come and dread of traveling with young kiddos. Fear of your household goods arriving in a different condition from when they drove away, or fear they arrive at all. By far the most difficult part is saying goodbye to the amazing friends you have made. Not knowing if you will ever be at the same station together again means some goodbyes are forever.
Upon arriving at a new duty station there is so much to tackle. Where to live. Enrolling kiddos into school. Receiving household goods. Managing all the ebbs and flow of PCS, and if you’re a military spouse you know just how complicated that is.
For me personally, changing duty stations is always incredibly tough on my marriage. All the stress seems to break down our communication. So among all the excited emotions, I feel a bit of loneliness. Being in a new place, without those deep friendships and starting over from scratch compounds this feeling.
Yes, I have friends around the world. Wonderful friends that I give thanks for every single day. But here I am at another new duty station, starting over with my tribe of friends. Thank goodness for amazing technology as it truly bridges the gap! I also always remember there is hope that our paths will cross again.
And, for now, I’ll do what all military spouses learn to do for their survival. I’ll put myself out there, I’ll build my new tribe, and I’ll enjoy the friendships before the next goodbye.