This Military Life | Truth be told…I am envious of your family.

Baseball-Field This Military Lifelittle-league      youth_baseball_team

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.

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8 thoughts on “This Military Life | Truth be told…I am envious of your family.

  1. Jana, you are not alone either. I completely understand your feelings! Even though our circumstances of living far from family isn’t a result of something as noble as military service, we have had the same experiences over the course of our daughter’s lifetime. I long to be close to family again to share the very things of which you speak, however, Paul’s career has taken us everywhere from 2 1/2 hours from family to 2,500 miles apart. We seem to have settled in at 4 hours away in a tiny little town and have shared the same experiences, including at the ball field. Even though we’re not terribly far, we’re still not close enough to share the weekly sporting events or special events at school. In this small town of multigenerational families, we miss sharing those experiences with our family, too. While I know that these familial cheering sections also have more strife within them than many people realize, I also know it’d be great to experience that extra depth of community and comraderie within our larger community, despite the extra complications that come with living with your extended family daily. Thanks for sharing!

  2. While this is something I do not experience as a military wife, I do experience how difficult it is to not have my son (whose in the Navy) home. He is still young so I’m not sure if all that he misses impacts him yet, but his presence at family events is sure greatly missed by me. I do love how technology gives us the opportunity to be creative in how we connect but still not the same. Thank you for sharing your heart, Jana.

  3. I agree with you, Jana. I feel the most like an outsider when I attend the kids’ school events. I don’t know the majority of the children and I more than likely have met very few parents. With us preparing for another move overseas, I find myself getting annoyed with civilians who just tell me how exciting it is for my kids to have all these experiences. They mean well, but just once I would like someone to acknowledge how difficult continually moving is for my children too. I find myself envious of people in established neighborhoods whose children grew up together and now they have their routines of interacting with their neighbors as they go about their lives. I know that all these experiences are offering us amazing opportunities, and one day I’m sure that there are things that I will miss about our travels. I think that one day we are going to appreciate not being the new person, though, and getting to know those around me better. Days of hardship and loneliness make us appreciate the days of comfort and friendship.

    • Yes and Yes! I completely agree. Our military family is amazing, and I am so thankful for them…but, I miss the real thing. Praying for a safe move, and yes, moving is hard on the kids. We are seeing it more and more in the boys as they get older. With love, jana

  4. Oh Jana I have been there and completely understand your feelings. Some of the most joyous days for my kids brought tears to my eyes because our extended family was not there to experience it with us….the baptism of my oldest child, plays and recitals, etc. Thank you for reminding us we are not the only ones who feel this way!

    • Hi Lori, Thank you for your comment. Yes, I have had that exact experience…in fact, just this past Sunday on Father’s Day missing my dad as I saw all of the families gathered at church. I couldn’t help but let the tears come. You are not alone. Blessings, Jana

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