’Tis the season of the moving trucks.
I’ve said this to my boys each summer for years, when military families are seen moving in and out of their homes.
Moving trucks pull up to houses, boxes and furniture are loaded onto the trucks, and then the trucks pull away. Usually a few weeks later, more moving trucks show up, boxes and furniture are offloaded and placed into the houses, and the empty trucks pull away.
With this season we see our friends move away from our neighborhoods, only to be replaced with people who will soon be our new friends.
I remember the first military move I experienced, when forced to say goodbye to a friend. In 1990, I first hit the ground in the Fort Bragg, N.C., area, and spouses from my fiancée’s unit immediately took me in as part of their unit family.
His company commander’s wife let me borrow her wedding gown for our wedding, a gorgeous piece I could have never afforded on my own.
As she was pulling out of her driveway a year later, on to their new posting, I became a sobbing mess of tears. Another friend wrapped her arm around me and explained, “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to saying goodbye.”
Years later, I had to teach this lesson to my sons. The first time we were at Fort Hood, they became close friends with two boys who lived on our street. After their friends moved away, my boys wandered the house for weeks looking like lost puppies. They would walk past their friends’ old house on their way to school, talking about what they might be doing at their new post. They didn’t make great friends with any other children until we moved to our next posting.
Each time we move, we are forced to uproot, move and then plant our roots down into new soil. We have to find new friends. Having lived at 15 addresses during my 24 years of marriage, I know this can be a difficult and tiring process.
Eight out of ten houses on our current street will turn over during this moving season. We will soon have eight sets of new neighbors. I’m already planning a small housewarming gift for each new resident with our contact information attached, as a gesture of friendship. Whether this is the new neighbor’s first time at Fort Hood or their fifth, hopefully this will help with their transition to the area.
I’m hoping to reach out and make more new friends for myself. My boys are wondering if the families will include children the same ages as themselves.
We will chat with our new neighbors in our common area, walk our dogs together, visit with one another and chat about military friends we have in common. It will take time to meet the new neighbors and get to know them, but we will try to do so, just as we have at other posts.
It’s not easy going through this year after year, but it’s necessary. I will have to remind myself of this as I keep saying goodbye to my special friends, as they will be missed very much.
I’ll be thinking of them as they move, hoping their next neighborhood is warm and welcoming, and that they meet new friends, too.