What it’s Like a Year After Moving

One year after moving…

A year ago, we were the new kids in town. It’s an exciting place to be, but it’s not a secure feeling at all. Perhaps that why it’s so exciting. You’re all out there without roots, marching out into the unknown, hoping the people will be kind and the environment friendly.

Phew! It’s exhausting to be new: always putting your best foot forward…Actually, sometimes it’s an accomplishment just to remember to smile at everyone and keep your foot out of your mouth. Forget about your best foot. Which one is best anyway???

That’s why the one-year mark is a much happier place to be. No, we don’t have “roots” here yet, but at least we’ve met people, we’ve been watered in, so to speak, and the garden is feeling less scary and more familiar.

 

3 of my guys, passed out “watching” the NBA finals a few weeks ago…Is it called the finals? Or the championship?  They were rooting for the Golden State Warriors. We’ve held on to a few favorite sports teams from each move. We may always be #TeamWarriors and #TeamNats and of course, #rolltide!

 

 

This is at a park across town. Last year that park seemed like a million miles away, and I could not have made a single turn without the help of the GPS. This summer it seemed so much closer!

Last year I had a LIST of things I was NERVOUS about:

  1. School uniforms for the boys–Did we buy the right thing? Will they ever adjust to wearing collared shirts everyday?
  2. Switching back to regular school–Will we survive it???
  3. Meeting people– Will anyone like us? Will the boys make friends? What if there’s a bully? What if one of them gets in fights at school?
  4. My face is broken out like a teenager–WHYYYYYYY????
  5. Church people–We picked this church, but will it work out? What sort of people will they turn out to be? Do they pretend to be perfect and expect me to do the same? I’m not playing that game. I’m much too old for that.
  6. The village–Is this a good place for my children to be raised? Why is this crime report so horrible? Is this place less safe than D.C.? Because it sort of seems like it is!!!
  7. Dropping off J.D. ANYWHERE is impossible. He will NOT let me leave him. Will he ever stop crying???

The boys have taken turns killing spiders for me this summer. Perhaps I should call pest control…

This year I have about 1,000 LESS worries and anxieties!!!

All of the worries from last year are gone. We are happy with our school, our church, and JD usually lets me drop him off without too much of a struggle.

I can’t tell you much it warmed my heart to have ONE successful VBS year with my boys. First of all, VBS and our boys have not always been a great combination.

Most of my boys don’t enjoy crafts, singing, dancing, or listening. Sigh. That list pretty much sums up VBS, doesn’t it? Plus, they are a little shy, and they dislike large crowds, especially large crowds of kid where they don’t know anyone.

This week has been completely different for us! We have achieved VBS success. I can’t believe it!

First, of all, I taught Bible story time, so three of my four boys got to have me as their teacher for 20 minutes of the morning, which helped.

Secondly, they divided the 100 children into groups of 6 to 12 kids of like ages. I can’t tell you what a blast Joshua had getting to hang out all morning everyday with 5 other 11-year-old boys.

And Daniel made a new friend who likes baseball as much as he does!

Seeing them so happy made my day because most years they just feel like the outsiders at the family reunion. You know? Going to events in a new place where you don’t know anyone is like going to a high school reunion for a high school you didn’t attend.

It was also a relief to not be moving this year. Without all the unpacking boxes and living in hotels, we’ve had more time to do fun things this summer. We’ve gone to weddings, visited old friends, played with new ones, celebrated birthdays, and hung out together at home.

 

We have a lot of fun. Sometimes they make up their own costumes…

JD has developed a passion for puzzles, and he does these completely by himself.

swimming with friends: Here’s Daniel’s favorite girl squirting Caleb in the face with a water gun.

We actually had to say good-bye to Daniel’s favorite girl and her brother this summer, who is one of Caleb’s best buds, so we do know the sadness both in moving and in having friends move.

He wears a Batman t-shirt every single day.

We’ve visited both sets of our parents multiple times. My dad really loves having his picture taken, as you can see…

John David turned 4 and built up his Lego collection.

The boys had a ball getting to sleep in hotel beds.

I’ve almost recovered from sleeping in hotel beds….

 

 

visiting our old best buds on Caleb’s birthday

So this summer finds us in a much more secure place than last year.

We have friends. We know how to go most everywhere we need to go without looking at a map, and best of all, we have about a hundred acquaintances.

It warms my heart to see my boys relaxing more and being themselves.

I hear people knocking “acquaintances” sometimes, but those must be people that never move. When you move frequently, you learn to treasure even the acquaintances, because thanks to them, you can walk around town and be reminded to smile and nod because you spot a familiar face.

It’s reassuring to me to have tons of just acquaintances. Why? Because those are all potential people in your corner right there! Just seeing a familiar person, someone whose name you know, is enough to put you at ease when you sign up for something new and you walk into a room full of strangers.

Walking around in a sea of strangers feels a lot less welcoming to me than passing by people who smile and say hello because they know my name or they know my children.

So I would say that actually having a ton of surface level friends is not so bad.

Yes, you need a few close friends too, but you can only pour into so many bosom buddies. It’s pretty awesome just to be somewhere long enough to know people’s names and have a few friends to say hello to. It reminds you to smile, and when we smile we start to feel good, as though we belong. And you know what? You do belong.

Happy summer, y’all! I hope you’re having a good one too.

 

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Beginning to Meet the Real Army Wives of 2003

***This post is a chapter in the series The Real Army Wives of 2003, appearing each Monday morning on Storiesofourboys.com.***
Beginning to Meet the Real Army Wives of 2003

Back then I loved unpacking all the boxes.

Moving into a new house always makes me euphorically happy.
What could thrill a feminine soul more than a fresh new house full of possibilities?

I vividly remember each “not it” home we looked at when we arrived in Texas in January, 2003. But then we found “it.” We found THE ONE.

» Read more

Real Army Wives: When Reality Smacks You in the Face

Real Army Wives: When Reality Smacks You in the Face****Disclaimer: Links on this site are affiliate links. April collects a small advertising fee when you purchase through links on this website.*****

We left Oklahoma full of excitement over finally being together as a married couple. We were ON OUR WAY! Things were looking up for us. Alan and I were finally picking out our first house. Okay, so we were only 21 and 23. Maybe we’d settle for an apartment or a nice townhouse, but either way, it was going to be OURS, TOGETHER!

Eeeeee!!!! Happy, happy! Joy, joy!

But there was this one problem holding back our complete happiness. Dark, foreboding figures loomed in the corners of my mind. They looked like naysayers to me.

“I hear 4th Infantry Division is deploying to Turkey. Going in from the North,” Alan’s buddies at Officer Basic Course, back in Oklahoma, said.

Thankfully, everything was all “probably”, “maybe”, and “talk of the possibility.” There were no actual set-in-stone facts yet. (You see, at that point, America had not set foot in Iraq as part of the War on Terrorism yet. We were still only fighting in Afghanistan.)

“Ah, no one knows anything for sure, ” I comforted myself. “I’m not believing any of these rumors until I hear them from Alan’s soon to be unit in Texas.”

I always held out hope. This was my turn to finally begin my happily ever after, and all these gloom and doom storm clouds hovering all around me were ignored to the best of my ability.

Gray skies were everywhere, but the sun could come out at any moment. Not a drop of rain had fallen yet. Not a single lightning bolt had actually flashed. They just threatened.

With that mindset, we packed up Alan’s white Blazer and my bright royal blue Grand Am, arguing about the best way to make it all fit, and headed south.

I don’t remember where we were. It was somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Texas. But neither Alan nor I have ever forgotten that day. I’ve never forgotten that punch-in-the-gut from out of nowhere feeling.

Since we were driving two separate cars, Alan didn’t even know what happened, but when he saw me pull over, he pulled over too.

Real Army Wives: When Reality Smacks You in the Face

Just like on 9/11, I heard it from my radio. It was somewhere around January 15, 2003. I was all singing at the top of my lungs, until the news came on.

That’s when the news man announced that it was officially released, just that day, that 4th ID did indeed have orders to deploy their division to the northern border of Iraq in preparation for invasion.

Just like that, I was Chicken Little, and my thunder clouds had all just dropped their rain at once. The lightning was everywhere. The thunder was louder than the news on my radio. The rain was so thick I couldn’t see in front of me.

My heart was broken. I was bawling my eyes out. How could this happen? Why did this have to be? Our happily ever after just kept slipping further and further away.

I’d finally gotten to spend a week with my husband, and even that week we’d traveled to all our family’s houses and then come back for him to go out to the field, so really we’d been married 5 MONTHS and still had not spent one regular week together in a home of our own.

There was nothing to say, and not a thing in the world anyone could do to help us.

So in that moment, I did the only sensible thing.

I pulled my car over, laid my head on my steering wheel, and I cried. Alan came over to my car, and I had to explain to him what I’d heard on the radio.

Alan probably wasn’t surprised. He was more connected to the military community, so he understood better that this was coming. Of course, he was not feeling the same way I was. Alan is an Army officer. This was his dream. He was only too willing to go over there and fight some war.

If I said one prayer of lamentation, I said a 1,000. Many petitions were made for Alan’s safety, for direction with my life, for guidance with my next step.

But that first day, I just cried. Bravery was for later. Alan hugged me and apologized and held me while I blubbered.

Reality had reached out and smacked me in the face, so it was time I looked her in the eye. I buckled under the weight of it all, with hours left to drive.

Alan and I dried up my face, hugged, and we drove on.

For last week’s chapter, click here. To start at the beginning of this series, go here.

 

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Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds



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