“Some things just cannot be mimicked for the military brat during their adult life: A sense of community, for example, far greater than anything you will find outside of a military community does not exist. You quickly learn that the people around you while you’re away from family become your family. Blood has nothing to do with it and in a way your military family understands you better than any extended blood relative will ever understand.” – Me, When A Military Brat Ends Up Adulting In The Civilian World on Huffington Post
I’m feeling this quote today in a big way. I usually do this time of year when it’s tax season. It’s cold outside and I’m alone a lot. Yes, my kids are home and they’re older than they used to be but I’m the mom and I have to hold everything together.
My family isn’t physically close to me; I’m in MN and they’re in IL and IA. I live in a place where many people grew up and their families are nearby. Depending on someone other than your family isn’t natural for most unless you have a job where others see a need to care for you. You know, either a pastor or a small business owner who makes a difference in people’s lives. I’m sure I make some difference but not enough to warrant constant care.
- I could ask for help.
- I could say hey I’m lonely.
- I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, put my big girl panties on and make a plan. Reach out.
- I could continue to be the pursuer in all of my relationships (like I always am).
I could do all of these things but I am tired. I am worn out. I want my village; the one I see on old reruns from the good old days. The old Americana days where neighbors knew each other’s business and while it might be annoying, it was helpful to know that you were looked after.
I can pursue others and stand up and say, “I need help;” but when you already feel sad and alone you don’t want to. You’re tired of holding it all together for the kids. Tired of being strong and resilient, flexible even. It’s not the first thing on a person’s mind to check in with a friend who’s alone because everything looks good on the outside.
That’s something that you can’t hide on base. When the families around you have experienced the same thing as you, you can’t put on a show of strength and resilience. They’ve been where you are, felt how you’re feeling and because of that you don’t have to ask. The community just knows. They know and step up and take care of each other.