Moves are simply a part of military life. For some, they happen every 3-4 years. For others, it’s a bit further apart. But the majority of people who make the military a career move several times throughout their enlistment, both domestically and overseas.
Growing up, we moved around a lot. I relied on my brothers and sister for friendship and entertainment. Each time we lived in a new city or neighborhood, we still had each other.
The military can be used as a great tool for children to bond together in ways that will continue far past childhood. Memories made while leaving behind a home and traveling to a new one are often never forgotten. Even for an only child, the engagement and comfort of having their parents with them and knowing they also left behind friends and a life can be a bit comforting. It’s often a time of great stress but can end up being a huge learning experience for everyone.
But what about extended family? How do you keep in touch and up to date with what’s going on while often begin thousands of miles apart? And how do multiple moves impact a child learning about friendships and her roots?
Our family uses Skype and FaceTime (iPhone) a lot. Bella loves to chat with her Nana and Grandpa, see their dogs, and talk with my sister. We are about 700 miles apart so they come out to see us and we go back home when we can. My sister has flown out, my mom came to stay with Bella a few times in the past year, and Sam’s family has come out as well. It’s easier right now because it’s a day drive – it of course is harder to do this as often when you’re stationed much further away.
For our immediate family, it’s important to remain close knit even while making friends and building a new life. Military life is uncertain and there are times I’ve met someone only to tell them goodbye a few months later. We keep consistency by having a routine and making our days revolve around our own plans and family time for the most part. Our weekends are spent together; getting to know the place we live, hanging out on base, being at home.
When we moved here, we became more active in our company’s get togethers and meetings than we had at any point in the Marine Corps. I knew with Bella it was important to start that early. This is a career for my husband, so we want to make being involved with other military families a part of our lifestyle beyond just heading to the base to grocery shop. When your spouse deploys, you often rely on extended military family to help get you through those months alone – and to provide that same sense of stability to your children with meet ups, playdates, and homecoming events.
The most important thing to remember is moving is part of military life. It comes with the territory. Make it an adventure, keep your family close and in the loop, and find an on base family to help you all cope when your spouse is gone.
How many times have you had to move with your family? Any tips on how to make the move easier?
Don’t forget to enter the Military Family Great American Roadtrip Giveaway! Also, be sure to enter our ZAGG giveaway on facebook: a charger for all your devices on the go and earbuds, valued at $150. Ends 8/11.