Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughts on leaving

It's the time again. We've served our time at our current duty station and we're looking at being almost done here in Korea. Wow. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday, G-Dub got a call and asked me to think about coming to Korea. I remember that like it was yesterday. It was sometime in February of 2009. He hadn't been back from his Iraq deployment long and there we were thinking of taking off again. And thinking of all the things that needed to be done before we left Kansas.

Then, in November, the day before Thanksgiving, the boys and I arrived in Korea - a few months behind G-Dub's arrival, but with all those "things to do before Korea" marked off the list. Wow.

And, now here we are again with a list of things to do before LEAVING Korea. I've said for the past year that it is going to be hard leaving Korea. I first realized that when a good friend left last year. In all of our duty stations, we've made friends and made a home for ourselves there. It's the military family way of life. But there's something about being in this small country on this small post in what seems like worlds away from everything we once perceived as normal. I read some blog posts the other day about getting ready for Christmas. Wow. I can't fathom that. Though1t that's such a normal thing. But when I'm looking at moving across continents again and setting up a new home somewhere else - Christmas is the last thing on my mind. I'll think about Christmas in November. Maybe. Someone remind me. ;)

Today was the last day of school for the kiddos. That's something that is so far beyond my grasp. Growing up in the south, we got out of school before Memorial Day. So, to still be in school after FLAG DAY has been bizarre. I happened to be down in front of our building when school let out before lunch today and watched as kids were leaving the school grounds and coming home to their Family Housing apartments. There were not many smiles on many faces. The smiles and happiness were few and far between in the people that passed me by. I found myself thinking how bizarre that is. And then I started paying attention to who had smiles and who didn't. Most of the kids who were smiling were kids that are not moving away this summer. Most of the kids who didn't look happy about school being out were the ones who will be changing their lives soon and moving to new places. Most of those were older, many middle schoolers who have figured out what having friends is all about. And now, they are about to leave those friends and go into the unknown of their new worlds. Not something they willing chose to do, but something they are doing.

I brought those thoughts home with me and was pondering over them as I folded laundry later. It was at that point that my heart strings felt tugs and tears stung the backs of my eyes.

This military way of life was not something these kids chose. This military way of life was something that was chosen for them. This military way of life is something that we, as parents, as soldiers, as military spouses, chose when we were adults and had a better understanding of just what we were getting into. We knew when we made that choice to become a part of a branch of service to our country be it through serving ourselves or supporting a spouse that we'd be leaving all that we knew as normal, all that was comfortable to us. We knew that we'd change comfort zones every few years and start anew somewhere else. We knew it wouldn't be easy. We knew we'd shed tears, miss loved ones, make new friends, leave strong bonds every few years. We knew "normal" would be something completely different to us than much of the rest of the world. We knew what we were getting into.

Our children did not. Oh sure, they have survived it all, but they don't always have to like it. I've always said my kids are great troopers. But, Dev is older. He's a teenager now and this current PCS - permanent change of station - is really effecting him. I can hear it in his voice, I can feel it in his actions, I can see it in the acne that has suddenly appeared on his skin. He is feeling the stress of moving. Of leaving friends he's so comfortable with. Of starting over somewhere else. Of being the new kid at a point in the near future. When I think about all of that and what he's going through as an adolescent, not knowing what I know as an adult, my heart breaks for him. And in my new role as parent of a teenager, I'm not sure of how to make it better for him. In the past, it's always been easy. We talk up how great things are going to be where we're going. How busy we'll be, what places we'll see that we've never seen before, etc., etc., etc. That was always easy when they were younger and when they actually thought we knew what we were talking about. Teenagers are different. He's not buying any of the talking up we've been doing. He has his own emotions, his own feelings and his own sadness. I guess as a parent, all I can do is sit back and guide him through it to the best of my ability, but as a teenager, he's a little stubborn about accepting guidance. So, I guess we have to sit back and watch more than guide. And, let me tell you. That's not always easy.

So, I think I'll just pray about it all. ;)

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