This guest post is written by Heather, a friend from college and fellow military spouse. When you finish reading, head over to her blog to check out more of her great work! ~Sarah~
A few nights ago, I was feeling restless. I have this constant struggle after my kiddos are in bed…do I stay up for a while and enjoy some quiet time, whether it be “me” time or chores, or do I go to bed? Is it worth getting stuff done even if that means being tired the next day? Well, on this night, I chose sleep. And then, I couldn’t sleep. It was so frustrating. I felt myself getting angry, like I was wasting time, and wondered if I should just get up and get some stuff done.
I ended up praying and felt my heart settle in as I had a good long talk with the Lord. I eventually drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened in the middle of the night by an alarm on my phone.
We don’t live in tornado alley, but there have been no less than three of these severe storms in the last 3 months. I’m starting to feel like we shouldn’t have bought a house here.
I decided to wake my husband since it was pretty nasty outside, and in the event this tornado touched down nearby, I was going to need him awake! There’s no way I could quickly get my three kids downstairs and into the bathroom by myself.
So we waited. We checked the weather. We talked about our plan if the weather worsened.
And I began to feel very anxious.
I’m not a fan of storms. I mean, a light thunderstorm where you can curl up with a good book and hot beverage, now that, that might be acceptable. Otherwise, I don’t like bad weather.
Thankfully my husband was there, talking me off the ledge and educating me on what we needed to do and look for.
The warning was supposed to be for a half an hour, and as predicted, after a half hour, the storm had passed and we were able to lay back down in peace and listen to the pitter-patter of rain.
But then I was back to restlessness and sleeplessness.
My brain was racing as I realized something…
All I could think about during that storm was how I could most effectively and efficiently protect my babies. Should I wake them? Should I let them sleep? Would I feel better if I had them in my arms? What if the tornado really came? I should have them with me in case we have to make a mad dash for safety. But, what if the tornado didn’t come? Then I’d have to get three kiddos back to sleep, which is no fun.
We had diligently watched and chose to let them sleep. In the end, I was thankful for that decision.
But isn’t that how life is for our military kids?
As I lay there thinking about it, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between storms and the life of the children in our armed forces. It’s like this…
We chose this. They didn’t.
It’s as if we chose to live in the “tornado alley” of life for these kids.
And that’s all they ever know.
For these precious children of our armed forces community, it’s one thing after another.
It’s a PCS. (Permanent Change of Station AKA a move)
Or maybe your crazy parents choose a DITY (Do it yourself) move and you have to watch your stuff get boxed up days or even weeks before your actual cross- country move.
Maybe it’s the constant “good-byes,” or “see you laters.”
Or how about the many, many times that one, or both, parents are gone from the home for days, weeks, months, even over a year.
Possibly it’s the fact that these kids are often growing up away from family, so if they are lucky enough to see family, it can be confusing to have them come and go.
Maybe it’s the multiple doctors they will have. Or teachers. Or schools.
How about the number of houses they will have or move to? My daughter, who is 21 months old, has already lived in 3 homes.
Or perhaps it’s the ultimate storm. The storm that every military family fears. The possibility that the one they love, be it mommy or daddy, may not come home one day.
But guess what? In the end, these “storms” are all these children will ever know, as long as one or both of their parents are in the military.
The incredible beauty in this is that to military children, change isn’t super scary. “Storms” aren’t terrifying. New people and new places are just a part of life. Adventure is normal and while adjusting may be hard at times, they just do it. They go with the flow and I think this helps to form them into pretty incredible people.
I know that often, my momma heart aches for my babies. I just want to protect them, to shield them from the storms. It has brought me to tears when my 3 year old asks for his friends from our last duty station. Or when he asks if we can go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, like it’s right around the corner, when in fact, it’s 11 hours away. Or when my daughter, who normally doesn’t mind the doctor, totally freaked out at her first appointment with a new doctor. These little things eat away at me sometimes, but then I remember how incredibly resilient these children are. I watch my children say “hi” to everyone they see. I observe their excitement for adventures and their ability to roll with the punches, and I’m so impressed.
The way I want to protect them from the changes that military life affords isn’t unlike my drive to protect them physically from storms, or tornado warnings.
If only it were as easy as scooping them out of bed and cuddling with them in the guest bathroom to protect them from emotional pain.
But it isn’t.
And maybe that’s ok.
Because in the storms. God is present.
He’s also in control.
So while I love my kids to the best of my ability, and protect them the best ways I know how, I have also learned that sometimes the change is harder on me than it is on them. Sometimes I just need to let go and trust that God is holding their little hearts.
He is holding us, dear mamas, during the storms; physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
How much more so is He holding our children?