Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Worst Thing about being a Military Family.

Leaving friends. Making friends. Watching friends leave you. Making more friends. Leaving friends. It sucks plain and simple.

It truly is a blessing to meet so many great people. So many new people. So many people from so many places. Okinawa was a blast. We made great friends. I was fortunate enough to hook up with some people online and make connections that I literally had friends on Island the second we landed.  "M" picked me up from the airport! We had fun, we hung out. We were fortunate to have a big handful of friends to get along with and do similar activities with. We aren't a partying couple. We're more of a get-out-of-the-house-and-do-something-cool couple.  Or a have everyone over and play games couple.  We met friends that matched us in Oki.  I personally had a great group of ladies to hang with.  And then, they move.  Three to four year tours are the norm overseas, so you can expect a steady flow of inbound and outbound people. Sure, you meet someone who has the island totally wired and can show you around, but they've been there for 2 years.  And that means that in 2 more years, Sionara. They leave. And now you have 2 more years.  So you make more friends and you become the friend that has the island totally wired and can show them around. But you've been there for 2 years. Now you leave.

So here we are. Back in the CITY I grew up in. Sure we have a few old friends here. My best friend (and still current BFF(repeating of course)) moved away to Colorado before we moved back here. I might know of people around here. People I rode horses with. People who I went to school with. People my husband used to know or work with.  Four years is a long time though.  Four years and they have gone on with their lives. Four years and we come back with kids and tragedy.  Tragedy kind of marks you as "that" couple. They still have their childless freedom. Sure, we are one of those people that try to get out, preemie permitting, but let's face it with young children you just can't go do anything and everything. At least not as fast and worry free as they can.

We need to meet some people that get it. Someone in our age group, with little kids and similar values and hobbies.  Isaac is enrolled at the Little Gym, and you would think that maybe we would meet someone there. Strangely enough none of the parents talk to each other! I try to and it's like talking to a wall. They give you one-word replies and body language pretty much states: leave me and my kid to do what we want on our own.  It's like no one wants to make friends.  At least in Okinawa pretty much anyone American there is going to be military affiliated. You all try to talk to each other, and almost everyone is open to making new friends. Everyone in Okinawa knew that you had to reach out because sooner or later your current friends were going to leave you.

I'm finding myself missing the friends we had in Okinawa a lot. We don't have that here and it sucks.  I have great friends spread out all over the States and even the World. That's what happens when you live four years in a foreign country.  For most of them, thanks to Facebook, we keep in decent touch. Some more than others. We are fortunate to have one of our best friends from Oki stationed at a base about 6hrs away. That drive is doable.  But it's not a give you a call and hang out tonight kinda thing anymore. Bummer.

The other day we were at the zoo and there was a couple, our age, with a toddler son and baby in the stroller. Just like us. I wanted to say, "hey, let's be friends." But I thought that would be creepy. So I didn't say much but a a little "hey" and flash an understanding smile.  Man. Even people at church, albeit friendly, are not just ready to pounce on the opportunity of acquiring new friends. 

It's getting boring.  The only problem is, we might be leaving within a year or more. Maybe. And part of me just doesn't want to waste the energy to make close friends just to leave them behind.  Boo.


  1. Although we aren't a military family anymore, I grew up in that lifestyle and completely understand what you are going through. Even as a Mom, I joined a mommy group here, and it's like if you weren't a part of that group since they started, it was like talking to a brick wall--like they didn't want you there. So I simply stopped going.

  2. i totally feel you maddie :), i wish i lived a little closer, i would drive to you and just give you a hug. We have only been to this base so far and i am so scared we are going to have to leave soon and leave all our friends, it's so heartbreaking cause i love them all :(

  3. Well, make your next move close to me, and you'll have friends instantly! :D Our kindergym group is awesome, you'd fit in instantly!

  4. "One in five relationships begin online" (eHarmony commercial ha ha)

    Have you tried meeting people the same way you made friends in Oki - not myspace of course but on bookoo or meetup where you can find more military moms...

    I also think you are being hard on yourself. With everything you guys have gone through in the last six months its not like you had half a chance to meet people. So really now that you finally have a chance to get settled and breath its almost like, socially, you just got to the new base.

    You guys are so freakin awesome its just a matter of time. I definitely miss you. Am I the only one left on Okinawa? I was pretty devastated when you guys left so I know what you are going through. Of course now I'm the Oki expert whose been here and our new friends are just discovering things. I'm not gonna lie, when we are the ones leaving its a little easier but its always hard.

    Anyways just give it a little more time. Remember, all you peeps with kids are super busy. I bet you all fight it a little more when it comes to actually digging up time to make room for new friends when you have diapers and gymboree and everything else. Albuquerque will come around before you know it ;)

    and if not, I'll be making my way to the SW in about a month so make space for me on the couch for a least a weekend!

  5. I love you my BFF!! I think that you should move to CO and the problem will be solved. In our dreams right! I understand the feeling. It is hard to make "friends" good ones at least, but you know there is always ways of getting around what you want. Love you!