Life with Temporary Friends
My friend is the son of a military couple. Just like their boots and uniforms were daily parts of his childhood, so were their intelligence, steadfastness and their devotion to him as their child.
Moreover, during career days at school, they made every other parent look boring. However, unlike many families, they were aware that their routine could be drastically interrupted at any time. With the rising cases of instability globally, it was very probable that and any time one or both of his parents could be deployed overseas anytime.
This was one of his biggest fears, and I often felt sad whenever we had ‘that talk’ that signaled that it was time for him to move again. He could rely on me to listen but I could never really understand.
Subsequently, like every military personnel, his parents accepted that deployments are the rule, not the exception, and they, therefore, put the needs of the U.S. above anything else. During their duties overseas in countries such as Germany, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Afghanistan he moved along with them, and this made it very difficult for him to maintain friendships. He was not very outgoing in the first place and moving to different countries made it even more difficult. In some cases, his dad and mom were deployed to barracks that were not in the same locations, and he was forced to pick one of his parents with whom to stay with. This was an decision I know he hated, but he had no choice.
Whenever he told his other friends that his parents and he were moving to a different country, my heart would sink, and I could see some of his friends shed a few tears. They never really understood what good friends they were to him for the short time they were together. For this I always knew.
My childhood friends and I had been friends since before we could remember, growing up together and had always been each other’s best friends. But with him it was different. A month or more could go by without seeing each other.
It became harder as we grew older. Sometimes, we would go for weeks without talking, sometimes months, or perhaps years without being able to hang out or see each other. It broke my heart, and these were the first signs that the friendship I thought would conquer everything life threw at it me was slowly coming to an end.
I am sure it sucked starting a new life in a different location and scrambling to keep up with it. I know for him it was the worst feeling to start new friendships as deep down I knew that he knew it was not going to last. This was all due to circumstances beyond his control. To hide these feelings, whenever my friends brought up the military topic I would brag about how my friend's parents are in the military, how they stand up and fight for our country without complaining, and the number of nominations or awards they have received. However, underneath all that, I was in pain for my friend.
The friendships he made with many kids at school would slowly fade away as a large number of them would fear to visit him at home since he and his family lived in the barracks. Moreover, those who were willing to come at his place would be barred from getting into the barracks without a gate pass. This can be intimidating. As a military kid, you have to grow up fast.
Consequently, it seems, that he had fallen in love with at least one girl in every country that his parents were posted in. But relationships were short-lived as his parents would relocate to a different country.
All in all, as a military kid, he is always in fear as am I. With all the current attacks against our Country's military, a sense of fear and panic sets in every time there is shooting on a military base. Could that be his parent’s hurt? Could they be in trouble? Is their barrack next?
I can't begin to tell you the fears and insecurity I feel. So I can't even begin to tell you the fears he and his family feel. I am proud to be his friend, even though we share only time online. He will always be my friend.