Sometimes I struggle to quench my feelings and choke down envy when someone mentions buying an amazing house or follows some other beautiful dream that seems so out of reach for me.
I often look at my 40+ years and wonder what I have accomplished.
Sometimes, it’s hard being transient. It gets so lonely.
We’ve lived in so many houses, apartments, hotels, and rooms over the years that when I wake groggily in the wee hours of the morn to comfort a child or when I hear an odd night noise, I am often disoriented as my mind adjusts to the shape of the room rather than a memory of another room across the years.
All our memories fit into a few Rubbermaid containers.
We never know when we might leave for someplace new. Too often, we leave again before it even starts to feel like home. Sometimes, we start to feel anxious, ready to move on.
We make the best of it, right?
I’ve lived in a home with no dishwasher and 3 cabinets in the kitchen. The washer and dryer were in the dirt-floor basement. I had to walk outside and around to the backyard to get inside.
I’ve lived in a smelly, ant-traipsing apartment where I had to walk up three flights of stairs.
We’ve lived in noisy duplexes with no privacy and a parking lot across the way.
We’ve spent weeks in temporary housing during PCSes.
We lived on base once, and while convenient, it had its cons also.
We’ve rented houses sight-unseen, only to be disappointed at the online deception. But it was too late.
My parents upgraded to a 3000 sq. ft. house on a corner lot shortly after I moved away. I have no childhood home to return to with its memories. I’ve visited three times in eleven years and it doesn’t even smell quite right there. It’s amazing to me how much space they have for two people who never go anywhere.
We’ve sold and bought more vehicles than I can keep count as our family grew and transportation needs changes. Cars mean little to me other than reliability. My mother loved buying her new Chevrolet Caprice Classic every three years, then moved on into small SUVs. Still not sure why they need three cars at age 75.
We’ve attended more churches than any family ever should have to. We even stopped going for a while. It gets tiresome sometimes, trying to fit into a new place, with its cliques and families and friendships that have existed for decades.
As a military wife, I’ve often put my dreams on hold.
I left my college teaching job. I didn’t get that Ph.D. I haven’t written a book – yet.
But military life really doesn’t feel that hard to me most of the time.
I’m cool with holding down the fort during TDY, deployments, emergencies.
I’ve become a pro with organizing, packing, and unpacking.
I’ve dealt with disappointment and put on a brave face for the sake of my children.
They say home is where the military sends you.
And it’s true.
Home is everywhere.
Home is where my husband is. Where my children are. Where my cats are.
The kids are beginning to ask if this is our last move. How many more? What next? My son wants to know: where will we be when he’s 10?
My eldest daughter just started college and doesn’t plan to leave Ohio. She’s longing to put down roots. I don’t blame her.
So, sure, I put some dreams on hold.
Or maybe I’ve adapted and grown up.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gonePink Floyd
My dreams have changed since I was younger.
I’m no longer that selfish hurting girl who threw tantrums, hid in the closet when I didn’t get my way, or couldn’t handle a full day alone with two kids.
I’m no longer that overwhelmed girl who eats out multiple times a week or prepares quick foods due to a lack of planning.
I’m no longer my mother’s daughter who needs retail therapy to prove my self-worth.
I realize that a beach home might not be in our best interests with hurricanes and flooding. I never imagined living through our basement flooding on Memorial Day in Utah, while my husband was deployed. Really, Utah?
We’ve learned self-reliance since we’ve always lived far from family. It’s still really hard for me to make friends.
I’m not interested in recognition in the field of education. I will never go back to get a Ph.D. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I am educating my children and I see the fruits of my labors there. Yes, it’s interesting to me that there are two moms on my new street who are finishing up their Ph.D.’s and it only brought a tiny twinge of regret.
I’ve learned to have different priorities.
I want to live debt-free. And not just financial freedom. We pray the Lord’s prayer every Sunday at church, but I want to live it.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… Matthew 6:12
I strive for grace, forgiveness, and kindness.
I pray to fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith…
I am resilient, flexible, strong.
I don’t have to put my dreams on hold indefinitely. I can incorporate my dreams into the life I am living – adapting to what is best for this season and our family dynamics.