Throughout the course of my husband’s career in the military we were afforded the opportunity to live in various states throughout the United States and different countries around the world. No matter where we lived, there were people who welcomed our little family with opened arms. We forged friendships that have lasted through the 20 years he was active duty.
These friends are more like family to me as they have shared in the highs (births, graduations, promotions, celebrations, etc.) and the lows (deaths in families, deployments, among other things). I am so thankful for the people that I have chosen to be my family.
When my husband decided to retire, I was glad we were going back to a state that we had lived in four times before during his career. I was excited because I would be close to my relatives and had high hopes that we would become close and they would also share in the celebrations and support with the lows. Maybe our being gone so many years forged some sort of huge gap in between us. My parents don’t really show interest in our children. My children do not know their maternal grandparents…and quite frankly, I don’t think I know my parents anymore. As for siblings, it’s all a social media show. There’s the cute ‘I love you’ or ‘I miss you’ posted on newsfeeds, but other than that there’s no gatherings, no visiting and I am disappointed. I guess I had this fantasy that we’d all be close and adjust our schedules to meet at wherever, that grandparents would drive the 2.5 hours for graduation and celebrations, or even support after surgeries. No, that doesn’t happen with my blood relatives. Instead, that occurs with my military family.
I have tried to stay present in my relatives’ lives. I often feel shut out. That’s okay. I am thankful for those that choose to be present in my children’s and my own life.