Lessons about Saying Goodbye from a Five-Year Old Military Child

It’s PCS season. After six moves, I should be use to this. But it never gets easier. Several of us (friends and neighbors) on our block are moving this month. I’ve been making less eye contact with them, mostly just to avoid talking about leaving. Before, there would have been in-depth discussions, play dates, wine dates and plans to get together. Now we are avoiding each other- it’s mutual, it’s perfect.

I need to be strong and stoic for this move. I’ve never invested in to others like have I have at the assignment -especially the children. These people are my military family – they are my support network, my social life, my wine cabinet, and my children’s best friends. This base and assignment has been a two-sided coin for me- it’s been extremely hard on my family but it’s been the mother load of friendships for both my kids and myself. We are scattering to the different parts of the globe within the next 30 days. It’s time to say goodbye.

I have deemed this month as the “Month of the Ugly-Face Cry.”

The other day, my neighbor and very close friend, surprised me with the news that she is “going away” for a quick vacation before she moves. See, she’s the last one of us (four military spouses/moms) to move. It’s easier to leave than to be left. So this little vacation is nothing more than avoidance and an excuse to not watch the moving trucks pull up to our homes and witness the end of a two-year friendship, childhood memories and support system – which will inevitably come to an abrupt end. I’m angry; only because she thought of it first.

My little five-year old daughter has met her very BFF at this assignment and she lives next door – she belongs to the neighbor that outsmarted me. I’m so emotional that my little girl has to say goodbye to her BFF that I can’t speak. My sweet little girl doesn’t understand that TODAY is probably her last play date.

How do I tell her? What will she do when she realizes she probably won’t see her again this summer? Breathe, breathe. I’m starting to panic. These two girls have been inseparable for the last two years – more than 1/3 of their lives. It’s been a daily vision of dress up, ballet recitals, tea parties, stuff animal parades, lemonade stands and scooter races – all while the mom’s watch and smile with happiness. We all know that if our children are happy in this life, then we are happy.

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