I stood in the middle of the room, clutching the pale yellow sleepsack I swaddled both of my babies in when they were tiny. The tears began to fall and I looked around my son’s bedroom, surrounded by signs of a season that had passed us by:
Sleepsacks, like the one I was holding, soft and fuzzy.
Bibs and burp rags, long forgotten in a lonely drawer.
The baby carrier with straps everywhere, now abandoned and neglected.
The tiny hats that were worn so often that first winter, including the one he wore home from the hospital.
All these relics on display, evidence that an entire season in our house had come and gone without me even realizing it.
I moved into this house with a baby, not yet one. Not yet walking, talking, or making messes all over.
Watching our babies grow can be hard for any mama, but for us military spouses, it can be even more difficult.
As I cleaned out closets and drawers, preparing for our most recent move, I mourned not only the fact that my babies were growing up, but that we were leaving yet ANOTHER house. A house where memories had been made, milestones met, and that would forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Often, when we think of military life we think of war and deployments. Obviously, those events cost military families dearly. But what about the other costs?
What about the cost, both financial and emotional, of moving so often? My boy has not yet reached his 3rd birthday, but he’s already living in his 3rd home. My sweet girl, only 5 years old, is living in her 6th.
Some of those moves have been on military orders (PCS’s). Others have been our choice as we have always strived to keep our family together whenever possible. My husband is already gone so often, that we want to be together when we can!
I don’t know about you, but I was so naive to this part of military life in the beginning. Yes, I knew we’d move, but not this often!
We’ve lived some great places and had some wonderful opportunities because of our location. Other places I have been ready to leave behind. Regardless though, in those final days, as we prepared to say goodbye to each of our homes- whether it had only been for a few months or a couple of years, the memories made there came rushing in like a flood.
Memories of the nurseries we carefully prepared to welcome brand new babies, the living rooms where they took those first wobbly steps, and the kitchens we gathered in to sing happy birthday. Memories of the bedrooms where we sat cuddled up together and read books together every night, the driveways where the kids colored with chalk and rode their bikes, and of the swings hanging in the tree where we often spent much of our time.
I lived in the same house from the time I was a year old until I went away to college. The fact that my kids’ experience is so different than mine is hard to wrap my head around sometimes. I worry and wonder how it will affect them.
And now, in yet another new house, we make our new spaces, establish new routines, and make new memories. It is wonderful and I am grateful to be here. But I’m also weary.
I’m weary of boxes and suitcases. I’m weary of curtains that don’t fit windows and trying to find a new place for everything. I’m weary of starting over. Weary of making new friends, turning new houses into homes, and finding new favorite places. I’m weary of watching my children struggle with all of these same sorts of things.
Thankfully, Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest“.
And so, weary and worn, I come.
Will you join me?
It’s the only secret I know, the only advice I have to give. There are no bullet points and no magic 3-step formula to make it all better, to make it easier, to ease the ache.
There’s just coming to Him. There’s only laying it all down at His feet and trusting Him.
Military life is hard and it leaves many of us weary.
But He will give us rest. He will sustain us. He will see us through these difficult days.
All we have to do is come.
PS- Ever since I started Servant Mama, my goal has been to encourage military spouses. Often, if I can’t write a post in a way that will leave you, the reader, feeling encouraged, I don’t publish it. But I also don’t want to paint a false picture of what life as a military family is like.
Some days, it’s just “normal” life. But other days, it’s unbelievably hard. So this post is me just keeping it real.
THANK YOU to every single one of our military families who make these sort of sacrifices, many who are indeed weary after nearly 17 years of war. You all amaze me and I am forever grateful to be a part of this community!