Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is silver-
and the other gold.
Yes, it's that time of year again. The posting messages are out, the houses are on the market, and the house hunting trips are booked.
April in the military is not just about new beginnings--not just spring and newness and fresh air. April is the time when the realization starts to hit that this too must come to an end. And when the emotional roller-coaster starts it's trek uphill for both the leavers and the left.
There are two sides of each move and, depending on the year, military families experience both. Every year we know it's coming. Some years we leave, some years we don't. Sometimes the goodbyes are more permanent, and sometimes they are more like see you next year. Sometimes blossoming connections get cut short and come to a quick and final end, and sometimes they are just the beginnings of deep-rooted, life-long friendships.
This year our family gets to stay put. It's a relief in some ways...no boxes, no stressful search for a new home, no schools to pick and trips to plan. Even writing about it elevates my heart rate and makes me sweat. Heck, we still have boxes from our 2014 move, waiting for me to dive in and organize (and they'll likely continue to wait until the next move...).
But, like every year before this one, staying put is bittersweet...because already the process of goodbye has begun. I have several new friends who are preparing to move, and although I'm happy for them, it makes me sad to think that we may never see each other again when they do. I know from experience that it is much, much easier to leave than to be left. The leaver has the excitement of new adventures ahead, and the left has a hole where a friend once was.
What's amazing about military families is that they keep doing it. They keep searching out friends, even knowing there's no permanence to the situation they are in. They push themselves to say hello, even when they are emotionally fragile from last year's loss. Some posts they may spend in a rut of loneliness, but they know that maybe the next time, the next place has a BFF just waiting to be discovered.
And the result? Maybe not in all cases, but in my case a wealth of wonderful, life-long connections. Kindred spirits from afar. Friendships across the globe. People I love dearly and would do anything for. Unique, amazing individuals who I may never see again, but who have touched my life.
And I'd like to think, in some small way, I've touched theirs.
Sure I'm sad it's that time of year. I'm sad to know that my friends are leaving. But this world has a way of keeping the connections we make. I know there's a new friend waiting, just around the corner. And I know my old friends are always there.