Now that the whole world knows that we are moving, it has been surprising that many people expect me to stay behind with the kids. Comments such as “What made you decide to all move together?” and “You are going to take the whole family?” are more common than I thought they would be.
I understand that I have older children. It will be a tough move for my kids. I don’t need to be reminded that my oldest is going into his senior year. I live it. I know that my daughter has very good friends. I know that my youngest doesn’t remember his last move, and this is the only home he remembers. This is not new information for me.
What really surprises me is that most of these questions come from my military friends. I would expect them more from those that do not understand the military lifestyle. I do admit that the longer we have stayed military, the more I see families stay behind while the active duty member moves without them.
I understand the reasoning even if I don’t agree with it. Moving is hard. It is hard for everyone, but as the kids get older it becomes especially difficult. Friends are a huge part of a teenager’s life. It is more difficult to transfer school districts. The teens think their life is ending and it will be miserable for all parties involved. I get it.
I have done deployments. Long ones and short ones. As the kids grew older, I noticed that the time away from their dad took a big toll on them even if they didn’t notice it themselves. Should I really keep them away from their dad for 3 years (minus the short visits we would have) in order to keep them near their friends? Are their friends raising them? Is that what I want for them? In a crucial period of their lives should I voluntarily remove their father? Voluntarily. Deployments aside, is it healthy for children to be separated from their dad when their dad and I have a wonderful, healthy marriage?
That brings me to my next point. Why would I voluntarily want to live apart from my husband for 3 years? I love him. I need his advice and input daily. We are a team. By living apart from my husband to save my kids some heart ache, I would be telling my children that they are more important than their dad and our marriage. Don’t get me wrong. My kids are important. We care about their heartache, but life is always changing. How we handle that change shows and builds character. Going together unites my husband and me, and my kids are watching.
I could say, “What about me?” I am heavily invested in my community here. I have very good friends that I am going to miss dearly. I don’t want to leave them. I do think my husband was worried that I would want to stay here and let him go. But what would that say about how I feel about him? He has supported us for 18 years. I haven’t worked so that I could take care of our children full time. We live as we do because he has worked hard. I support him. I am thankful to him, and I will show that by going with him.
We are a family. We will make memories as a family in our new place. I have told my kids since they were old enough to understand to love each other fully. Always place each other above their friends. Friends come and go, but they will have each other forever. Since this has been our motto, my kids are close. They will be fine. We will cry together, move together, and love together.
And I pray that all will be well.