Unlike the town I grew up in, my current town has many new military families move here every year. Some are stationed for a few years, but many are here for a mere 10 or 11 months.
During the last two years, I have had the privilege to make some new mom friends as I've gotten to know several of these families. The moms are the parents of my children's friends and most are here because their husbands are in the military.
I have been so inspired by these incredible women -- their flexibility, their bravery, their loyalty, their commitment, their toughness and their overall wow-factor -- that I felt compelled to write about them.
I've learned so much from these women and their friendships. They each inspire me with their own unique story and they each have taught me priceless life lessons. And perhaps, most of all, as I was just telling one of my friends -- they have brought a new sense of patriotism and pride to my life. Of course, I've always felt the joy and gifts and pride of being an American. But it's the personal stories of these men, women, children and families (including pets!) that have influenced me so much and made me feel pure awe when I think about the commitment to our country and our citizens that these families make.
Since I'm a mom and a blogger, dedicating a post to these friends and what they've taught me feels like a small, humble but truly heartfelt and personal way for me to say thank you.
1. Packing Pros
I'm in awe of your ability to pack, unpack, pack again, relocate, put in storage, move and of course, travel. You bring a natural ease to situations that I'm sure I'd crumble in -- like evacuating your home in Japan because of the earthquake or suddenly finding out you are going to live in Guam. You always know where your important papers are and you have your family heirlooms ready to go in an instant.
2. Home Sweet Home
The Moms I've met transform their temporary housing into incredibly warm and personal HOMES. Regardless of children, pets and the fact that your possessions are stuck in storage, you ladies manage to decorate and create beautiful spaces that are better than most home makeover "reveals;" meanwhile, ten years after moving in, I still haven't hung pictures or curtains in my house!
3. Calm, Cool and Collected
So many of my new mom friends have to face challenges in new communities including: new schools, new friends, new towns, new communities. And so many of these ladies do it alone because their spouses are deployed. Whether it's lost luggage or helping children navigate new friendships and activities, these incredible moms are unruffled (at least on the outside). The lessons they give their children by being calm and reliable and leaders are true gifts. I've thought about modeling this behavior many times because it's a lesson in dealing with life's curve balls for all of us.
4. Instant Friendships
Many of the families have a short stay in our area and a short assignment, which means getting down to the business of making friends ASAP -- for the moms, dads and children. It's so refreshing to meet new friends and to see my children meet wonderful new friends quickly and effortlessly. The fun starts immediately and when the families move it's very sad, but it's created opportunities for pen pals and email buddies. And so, a new lesson I've learned: If you like someone or your child likes a new friend, just go for it!
5. The Members of America's Armed Forces Rock!
As often as possible, I express gratitude and admiration out loud to my new military pals -- thanking the men and women for their sacrifices and dedication to our country, raving to the children about their awesome parents and generally offering as much praise and thanks and recognition as I can without sounding like a huge nerd!
So much of my writing is about celebrating the unexpected and sharing daily gratitude. This post is my love letter to the great American families I've met -- the mothers, fathers, children, and even pets. These amazing people are my neighbors, church community, friends, babysitters, and most of all, teachers. I feel so lucky that even as an adult, grown-up (sometimes!) mom of twins, I still get to learn and grow and evolve and make new friends -- sometimes when I least expect it.