• August 30, 2014

Staying put while friends move on

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:30 am

My husband made the decision to leave the Army. It’s official.

He dropped the paperwork, he’s going to go to ACAP and this time next year, he will no longer be in the Army. I will no longer wear the title “Army wife” — an identity I’ve had a love-hate relationship with since acquiring it almost four years ago.

I don’t think it really hit me just how much our lives will be changing until I saw how they are stagnant right now. The summer is moving time for the military. If my husband were continuing his career, we would be moving to Fort Benning this summer. The strangest part is watching everyone we arrived at Fort Hood with begin this journey.

Everyone I’ve become friends with and bonded with over two deployments are moving on to new things, and my husband and I are staying put.

Change is exciting and I’ve always welcomed adventure, so it’s not easy to say all these goodbyes, knowing it’s not my turn. I’m trying hard to remind myself of the joys of familiarity, even if it’s only in places and not faces.

Two weeks ago we had one last dinner with the couple we’ve gotten the closest to. They are those hard-to-find friends where everyone gets along and double dates are natural. Watching them leave and knowing we chose the different path was hard. I don’t regret my husband’s decision, but some part of me keeps thinking, “We should be going with you.”

After watching me mope around the house for a week, my husband finally looked at me and said, “You need to find a new friend.”

And it’s true. But I’ve noticed the older I get the harder it is to make friends.

Looking back, making friends as a kid seemed so easy. I’ve always been super chatty, and as a kid, walking up to other kids and striking up a conversation didn’t seem weird. It’s what kids do.

Now I’m hesitant and self-conscious. I’m keenly aware that other people are judging me. It’s weird to exchange phone numbers; then you wonder when you should call, what do you say, maybe just a text? Did I come on too strong? It’s like dating — something I do not miss at all.

Trolling through Army spouse Facebook pages, I quickly realized I’m not alone. They are filled with comments from other spouses lamenting about a lack of friendship and asking if anyone will go to a movie with them.

This is one thing I love about being an Army spouse and I will miss it when we leave. It’s a camaraderie. Other Army spouses are willing to give you a chance and go to a movie with you simply because you wear the same title and understand the same blessings and hardships.

It’s something I hope I can find again when we cross over to the civilian world.

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