Watching my children say “Goodbye” to their friends is one of the hardest things I ever have to watch. It breaks my heart into a million little pieces as I watch their guarded tears fall down their cheeks.
A military child is a uniquely strong little person. They try to be strong. Afterall, they’ve done this before. Every military child has. Goodbye is part of their vocabulary that is all too frequently used. They see parents off to war, off to schools and various training exercises. And they watch as the friends that they’ve shared all their little secrets with, all their hopes and excitement, drive away in a loaded down vehicle.
It’s one of those things that isn’t spoken about much. Whether the goodbye is a result from a PCS move or a broken marriage, all they know is that the chances of seeing that friend again are slim.
This week, as my children prepare to say goodbye to their best friends; I find myself in tears, also. This is one of the very few things I don’t like about military life. I feel like our children are the casualty of our choices as the adults to be in this life. Perhaps it is because I know what it is like to have that lifelong childhood friend and grieve that my own children will never have that experience.
Many say that this makes children more resilient and they will have an easier time making friends. I’ve heard mixed reviews from the lifelong military kids that are now adults. Some say it was great and they enjoyed all the friendships they had along the way. Some said it was lonely and they learned not to get too close to other kids because they knew one of them would eventually move.
I hope my children grow to believe that the friends that we have along the way are a blessing. I guess only time will tell.
So as we prepare to say Farewell to a family that has been such a huge part of our lives, we will thank the Lord for that blessing. Even if it was only for a little while. At the age of 8, my daughter has gotten to TRULY experience what a best friend is.. My son, at 9, has made memories that will last him a lifetime. I will do my best to guide my children in this experience but know that I will be standing right beside them crying, too.