Yesterday was a wonderful day filled with family and friends, food and familiarity. At the end of a day like yesterday I am usually left feeling happily exhausted. Last night, after our last friend had departed I felt just that, but I couldn’t help also feeling a little sad.
When you are a military family you collect lots of things, homes being one of them. I’d venture to say that military families have two types of “homes;” the where-you-are-from home and the where-you-are-now home. Very rarely do the two coincide, but when they do it’s cause for a celebration.
Three years ago the Coastie called me at work and said, “I got my orders… we are going home.” I was so thrilled and instantly felt that warm feeling with which familiarity brings. I called my family and e-mailed my friends to share the good news. My parents had purchased a second house and it was decided that the Coastie and I would live in that house once we moved back.
Fast forward three years later and that second house has become our home. Sitting in my backyard yesterday, surrounded by the chatter of family and friends (old and new), I knew that the memories we were making were going to have to last as this was the last Fourth of July we’ll get to celebrate at home. Most likely by this time next year we will be PCS (permanent change of station) to our new where-we-are-now home.
This thought- the Thought of Lasts, as I’ll call it, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. It began the other day after my mom mentioned making a fairy garden next summer with my daughter in our backyard.
As I was crawling into bed last night, thinking about the Thought of Lasts, my dad’s voice popped into my head. “You don’t miss what you don’t have,” he used to tell me when giving advice about retirement contributions directly from each paycheck. His theory- which has proven true in that instance- can be applied to many situations. Whether he thinks it or not, what he says always has and always will leave a lasting impression because yes, Dad, if you’re reading this, I do listen.
After such a lovely day I just kept thinking, you don’t miss what you don’t have. Playing the devil’s advocate game of “what if,” I couldn’t help but wonder… what if three years ago we hadn’t been assigned to a duty station at our where-you-are-from home- would I be having the Thought of Lasts right now?
I suppose there is no reason to ponder what could have been, and after some thought and a few prayers, I’ve decided that it’s best to just look forward to the future. I’m sure the Thought of Lasts will still creep in from time-to-time, after all- it’s only natural. I think this military family should focus not on the Though of Lasts, but the Thought of What’s to Come.