As we gear up for the deployment and draw down to the last weeks, people will begin leaving. Whether leaving with the main body or the advanced party, people we love and care about will disappear from our lives.
Something has occurred to me over the past few days. My children are not just saying “See ya later” to their father. I’m not just saying “See you soon” to my husband. We are also losing friends.
These losses are coming in multiple forms. The obvious one being the deployment. My husband is an Officer and as such, works closely with the other Officers and Senior NCOs. My kids have grown to love these people like family. “Uncle T” is one of my son’s best buddies. He spoils my son and they love to hang out during down time and make me crazy. “Ms. J” is, I’m convinced, my son’s first crush. She loves my kids like her own and has bought them birthday presents and given them snacks and has just been there for my kids, as little as they are.
These soldiers are gonna be missed. My daughter called “Ms. J” just last night to tell her, again, “See ya later” and to have fun being a superhero “just like my daddy”, even though “Ms. J” is still stateside. Neither “Uncle T” or “Ms. J” have kids of their own, which makes it that much more special. These soldiers aren’t even married yet, but they treat my kids like family. They will be very missed during the upcoming deployment.
More than that, what happens if, God forbid, something should happen to one of these beloved soldiers during the course of the deployment? I would grieve. My children would grieve. I imagine that discussion would be just as difficult as trying to explain if something had happened to their father. A reality of life in the military, sometimes, people we love die. Even if it’s not our soldier, it’s still someone’s soldier. It’s still a soldier that meant something to us, that brought something to our lives. A soldier that will be missed.
PCS (Permanent Change of Station)
My daughter is dealing with something very difficult this week. Though we have moved twice since joining the Army, this is our first PCS inspired anxiety attack and we aren’t even moving. Another loss military children deal with is of school age friends. Moving is a part of life. You move at some point, your friends move at some point. The average military family has 9 military induced moves during their soldier’s career. I believe it. We’ve been in the Army just over two years and have moved twice already.
The little girl across the street is a joy to be around. She’s always friendly, helpful, and asks questions about how she can help Sissy be a better friend. This little girl will be leaving us at the end of the week. Having just found out yesterday ourselves, bracing our daughter for this has been difficult. Her first reaction is to cry. She cries a lot. It’s the only emotional response she can muster up in some situations. Neighbor Girl#1 (NG1) is leaving us as a result of the military. Her dad is leaving the Army and as such, their family is moving. To make matters worse, NG2, who lives just two houses down from us and was in first grade with Sissy, might be moving too. Her house is up for sale.
Between the deployment and the moves, our neighborhood is going to get empty fast. That’s a lot of transition on kids. It’s a tough spot to be in. This is all very new to us being a young Army family. How do I guide my kids safely through so many changes in such a short time?
Sometimes it’s too much for a mommy to handle. The silver lining is that we’ve been able to successfully shelter our kids from the horrors soldiers sometimes face during combat. If asked, my kids will tell you that daddy is gonna go to Afghanistan to be a superhero and save the world from dragons.