Monday, September 15, 2014

Military Monday: Life...interrupted.

As you know, our summer has been a bit messy, with all of the moving and upheaval and chaos that goes with it. Although you never get used to that sort of insanity, you learn to deal with it. You expect a month or two of boxes and hiccups and new issues, and this summer is no exception.

As our moves typically occur in the summertime, we usually fumble through the months of July and August...knowing that in September we'll really be able to get organized. 

Because in September, the kids go back to school. Schedules are finalized, kids head off to their classes with backpacks full of shiny new school supplies... off to fill their heads with knowledge, meet new friends and settle in for the next few years. Parents are refreshed, energized, and people like me finally have the time to dig into those last few boxes and get their household administration under control. Time to sort out our careers, organize our days and make plans. Right? 


Waiting for the doors to open.
In the province of British Columbia (where we live), teachers are on strike. It's a messy, political, deep-rooted battle between the BC Teachers Federation and Governmental beings, and as an outsider moving in, I refuse to take sides and support either entity. When two sides can't sit down with an experienced negotiator and work it out, they lose my respect. I am already sick of the media ads and tweets that say (either directly or indirectly) 'Our side is better because we're willing to negotiate and the other side isn't, so you should support us!' Baloney. Horse poop. It all makes me grumpy. Especially when the people who the sides are fighting about--teachers and kids--just want to get back to school. 

Anyway I digress. 

The schools here are closed, and my kids are still home. Those hallowed first days of school where I can sip my coffee and organize my life are yet to happen. There are signs that the two sides are getting closer, but I'm not holding my breath.

I'll be fine. And my kids will be fine as well. But the first day of school is a milestone all families look forward to. And it has become blatantly clear how much we, as a military family, depend on that milestone to ease the sting of a posting. 

Because school isn't just about books. It's about life. 

Life for military families with kids on a new post starts on the first day of school. It's the real beginning. Until that day, the move isn't finished. Just like the pile of boxes in the corner, school holds so many possibilities and so many unknowns. It's a big stressor for military kids because there are so many unanswered questions. Will I like my teacher? Will I be able to play the trombone in band? Will I make the soccer team? Will I be behind or ahead in Math? Will I have too much homework? Will the kids on the bus be mean or nice? Will they tease me because I'm new? Did I get the course selections I asked for? Will I have enough time to get between classes? Are there good books in the library? 

And the most important question for kids... Will I meet a new best friend?

It's always been a given that the kids would head back to school at the end of the summer, and when they were bored and missing their old friends we could bring up the possibility of new friends just on the other side of the school doors. Our kids are old enough to understand. They know that somewhere in the throng of shiny new faces is a potential kindred spirit. So they are looking forward (even if they won't admit it) to the first day. But it feels like we are on hold. Like life is interrupted. Unfinished. 

And this year we have a new question to add to our list of unknowns. When will it start?

I guess we will just have to wait and see. 


  1. This brings back memories of my three children fearing (or was it anticipating?) the first day of school, often in a new town, a new home, at a new posting that often did not match the start of the school year.

    The pain of friends lost, the discovery of new horizons, a chance to start again, and above all else, a time for the family to come together as a unit that went way beyond the uniform and dock where the ship was berthed.

    Well written...

  2. My first time visiting your blog (I'm also a military spouse). Making comments like this is akin to taking sides and I am disappointed - if you aren't from the area (you aren't) and haven't worked in the school system (you haven't) you probably shouldn't be making comments like this if you want to make friends :)

    1. I am sorry you feel that way, although I'm not quite sure how anyone could take the above blog as offensive... unless they were one of the government officials or union representatives in the room which the skilled negotiator walked away from. I stand by my opinion that grown adults should be able to sit in a room and talk nicely to one another when they are discussing the education of our children and the careers of the teachers(some of whom are my friends) who teach them. Both sides were displaying incredibly poor leadership and children and teachers were the ones who suffered.

      Regardless, you seem to have missed the point of the blog, in that as an outsider moving in to the province, the dispute which I wanted no part of affected us in a way others might not have experienced. There is no way I could EVER understand the deep rooted anger felt by either side. And my children, who have a right to education in this wonderful country, were not being educated, nor did they have the opportunity to meet the friends that they so desperately wanted to meet. It was a new experience for us, and not one I hope to ever repeat. Brenda

    2. I'm not sure how this is "akin to taking sides" and I'm not sure how this is going to prevent Brenda or her family from making friends. I mean, unless they're choosing their pool of friends from union and government officials. I'm reasonably sure that being adversely affected by a teachers' strike entitles one to be upset by it, regardless of whether that person is new to the area or was born there.

      As it is, I wouldn't take Anonymous comments that hold no conversational value all too seriously.

    3. I find this comment from 'Anonymous' to be mean spirited. By identifying herself as a military spouse she may not be as anonymous as she thinks. It is a very small world. Why bother saying anything now? Kids are back in school. Why the warning about trying to make friends!! NASTY. Brenda you know who your friends are. As military spouses we support each other and protect each other whenever possible. It bothers me that a military spouse would make a comment like this. Couldn't resist adding my thoughts.


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