This past Friday night, we camped out at the ball field for 3 games. One for our oldest; two for our youngest.
With the start of baseball season in May, our evening schedule has been full as we cheer our boys on to their victories and losses. We being my husband and I. Two chairs, nestled together in comfort, amid a sea of people.
Many other parents sit with their extended family – cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nephews, nieces – young and old, generation upon generation. They all wear “bedazzled” team shirts with their player’s name and number on the back. And, all I can do is sit back and think about how envious I am.
Envious that our parents can’t be here to cheer our boys on. Envious that the young cousins don’t know one another very well because we live so far apart; we even have to reintroduce the children to each other when we finally are together under one roof.
Envious that these families seems to ease into conversation without first having to catch up. Envious our in-laws can take the kiddos for the evening and treat them to ice cream after the game. Envious that they can gather with their loved ones on the bleachers to share a ball game only to meet up later under one roof for a celebratory BBQ.
I admit I am envious of what they seem to have that I don’t.
I miss my family. I miss having deep family roots and living in the same zip code as my relatives. I am envious of large families and crave large family gatherings. As each year passes in this military life, our family unit grows stronger, but our ties to our extended family grow weaker, and that makes me sad.
Now, I will admit we haven’t done as good a job as others who have yearly family reunions and such. And, there are many reasons for that, most too private to share in this public space.
Regardless, it is at times like last Friday evening sitting out at the ball field in small town America when I feel most isolated, and have to fight back feelings of envy and resentment.
While there are many things I love about this military life, there are times when the necessary sacrifices seem too great. Admitting that there are two sides to every coin brings me comfort. And, I hope that my admission to this truth has brought you some comfort too.
You are not alone.