Ever have those moments in life where you are certain you are failing as a parent? I certainly hope that I am not the only person who feels this way. Parenting is just one big crossing of the fingers, hoping that the choices we make and the way we choose to parent or relate to our kids won’t land them in years of therapy.
But sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And still, we worry. Are we handling things well? Have we given our kids the tools they need to navigate life? Will they suffer long-term effects when life kicks them in the shins?
This is where I am right now. Worried about my children because of a circumstance out of our control.
We are about to PCS for the final time. I have two daughters, age 13 and 3. We have been at this current duty station for four years. And now we are leaving.
Part of me is jumping for joy. We are going HOME! Yes, home is where we are together … but oh how I miss the “home” that we have been separated from for too many years. Where grandparents are close by, where we can go to the beach every single day, where sweet tea, BBQ and seafood is more than just a novelty.
Part of me is stressed. Who isn’t, to some degree, during a move? It is enough to make you pull all your hair out by the fistful while desperately trying to get the very last drop of wine from the box. I think other people might deal with it a little better than I do, I envy them. I’m kind of a hot mess about all of it.
And then part of me, a big part of me, is devastated. Leaving people is ALWAYS the hardest thing for me when we move; I hate it. This move is no exception. There are some folks who, even as I am writing this, elicit ugly tears when I think of not being able to sit across the table from them and enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
But the devastation I feel is paling in comparison to the dread I feel, because I am so worried about my kids this time around.
It’s not that I never worried before or that things were easy for my kids during previous moves. But this time it’s different. The last move was probably the hardest to date for my oldest but she was still in elementary school. The last time we moved our toddler was not born yet.
This time, the toddler will be experiencing a move for the very first time. It will be her first lesson in really saying goodbye.
The reality is that she will probably NEVER see her teachers at school again, the wonderful speech therapist she adores, or the Nanny she had for two years who is still a part of her life. And she is at an age where she actively asks to spend time with certain people, is excited to see them again…but is not yet old enough to understand the concept of saying “see ya later!”
I can barely finish typing through the tears. My heart breaks for her.
But my oldest? It is almost more than I can write about.
She is a lot like me. She makes friends pretty easily, but invests in those friendships deeply. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She is creative, emotionally driven and thinks about things maybe a bit too much.
And while she is ready for our final move, ready to be back in Florida again, she is heartbroken about leaving her friends behind.
Not that this is a new experience for her. The end of the school year is always rough for military kids, I think. Because even if you are not the one moving, chances are that someone is. And it’s someone you care about. Most of my oldest daughter’s friends are moving this summer. They are all quite upset about this.
Add to that the extra worry about starting high school…well the tears are frequent, I can see the stress in her eyes…I can hear the sadness in her voice.
We talk about it when she needs to talk. I let her cry. We talk about all the positive things that moving means for not only our family, but for her personally. I don’t ever minimize what she is feeling, because I get it…and she needs to feel like someone understands.
Oh, do I understand.
But still, I feel like there is something else I SHOULD be doing. Something else I COULD be doing.
I should be fixing it, right?
I know, I know. That isn’t reality. And I hate it. Supporting your child as they work through the process of loss is never an easy thing … even though we know, as parents, it is a big part of growing up.
So, for now, I will continue to wipe the tears away, comfort and help her find whatever silver lining we can. And continue to be impressed by the resilience, compassion and strength of my military children.
How have you helped your children cope with the moving process?
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