Part of the joy and frustration with military family life is that you move around a lot... in theory. We haven't moved a lot. In fact, I moved 3 times while my beloved was gone for 2.5 years at Basic, AIT, and Korea. We then moved to Fort Irwin. The post 37 miles away from the closest "town" in the middle of the Mojave desert in California. I heard many people say they cried on the drive in because it was so devastating. I LOVED it there. My family thrived there. We had an incredibly tight knit community there. In fact, almost all of my closest and dearest friends were made there. We lived there for almost 7 years. There were people who moved shortly after we got there, went to 2 other duty stations and got back before we moved. That was an eternity in Military life time. We went to Fort Bliss in the desert of Texas after that. Our 2 short years there felt like an eternity. I was challenged in really great ways, and shaken in really terrible ways there. It really was a place of extremes for me. Then on to Fort Hood. The tag line for Hood is "The Great Place." After a year here, I really think they are referring to the size of the post rather than the quality. What I am learning is that if you look, you can find some really amazing people here. It just took forever for me to take the time to look.
These awesome people adjust so quickly to moving... they make themselves at home anywhere.
Once we got settled into our house, we didn't know where we would fit in. I have always been a part of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) on post, but I wasn't sure if that would work with our homeschooling schedule. I didn't know if we should get involved in one of the co-ops here because they usually require a lot of extra time and money, and we end up having to speed school on co-op days. We knew the boys wanted to do Scouts again. After quite a while, we ended up signing all of the boys up for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Anah talked us in to putting her in Girl Scouts. (I know... I was very against it also. She loves it. She is using the skills for good things. I do not want to argue about the political and spiritual correctness of Girl Scouts.) I tried attending PWOC, but wasn't able to make it work in our schedule. I also signed on to be a mentor mom at our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) on post. We made lots of friends in the neighborhood. I have AMAZING, FUN, AWESOME neighbors.
Today was our last MOPS meeting. I knew it was coming, but I wasn't prepared for the emotion of it. I had only a few ladies in my group that were able to attend on a regular basis. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could answer their questions and encourage them and that would be good enough. I had the HONOR to get to know these ladies... to see their world, their struggles, their victories. I celebrated potty training victories, cried and prayed with someone struggling with awful circumstances, and offered advice about organizing and planning. These women gave me the opportunity to love on them and to enjoy their wonderful children. I have had an entire afternoon to look back on the meeting and think about the year we had. I have learned SO much from these women. They have such amazing strength. I will never, ever underestimate the strength of MOPS Mamas again. These are generous, kind, brave, selfless women who are doing everything they can to provide the best life possible for their children. I thought I would say good bye, keep up with them on fb, and that would be it. I think my heart hurts a little thinking about not seeing them every month. Those women, who I was supposed to mentor, touched my life in ways I couldn't imagine. They helped heal my heart. They gave me purpose and hope. They held me to a high standard, and that made me step up my game. I am a better mother today because of MOPS. I am beginning to heal from my off year because of the love and friendship I found there.
It seems that hope and healing often come from unexpected places. I know we are to be on the lookout for miracles. I know there are big ones and little ones happening every day. My MOPS group was that miracle for me. The Lord knew that is exactly what I needed. I wasn't a particularly good mentor mom. I was myself though, and they accepted me and allowed me to be their quiet cheerleader.
Now I know, just as I have learned at every single duty station.... The very best way to get over a moving funk is to get involved.... to serve someone else. We often reap so much more than we sow.
Do you have good opportunities for fellowship in your community?