Thirty-six years is quite a long time to live in one place. That’s how long I lived in Florida. Then, a few years ago, my husband had the notion that he’d like to go to medical school. He’s in the Army and had been active duty Florida National Guard (AGR) ever since we got married. For those who have no idea what that means, not all of the National Guard is part time. It just wouldn’t work. They have some soldiers who are active duty assigned to run those units. AGR members go away frequently on deployments, a lot of training, meetings and what not, just like “Big Army.” But, there is no moving around, unless you want to go to another duty station in your state for a promotion, a particular assignment or just because you really want to move. If you don’t want to move, you stay put. This was my experience with being an Army wife.
That changed when my husband got accepted to Physician Assistant School with the Army. It’s a pretty hard school that is difficult just to get accepted into, so this was a big deal. The big deal also meant we had to start moving. If he stayed National Guard, he would come back to a part time position, so he transferred back into the regular Army. First, we went to San Antonio for 17 months while he attended the classroom portion of his training. Now, we are in Kentucky/Tennessee while he does his internship/residency/whatever the heck you call the practical side of his training. I’m not sure if we move after this or not. I do know I’ve barely seen him in the last two years. The training is intense!
So, living in new places for the first time with children who barely get to see their dad for a while could mean only one thing: TIME TO EXPLORE!!! We went all over the San Antonio area and ventured as far north as Fort Worth. We saw tons of things we had never seen before and I’m not sure who was more excited, me or the kids. This summer, we have even more exploration planned. Unlike Texas and Florida, it doesn’t take a lot of driving to leave the state and get out into the region. Next week, we head to Chicago and Michigan. Later, we’re going down to Chattanooga for a second visit to Rock City (Some things are worth going twice. This is one of them!), up to Bowling Green, over to St. Louis, and diagonally down to Huntsville. On different trips, of course. We are making use of every moment of our short 8 week summer!
On the surface, it seems like my 15-year-old will get more out of this summer than my four-year old. After all, how much can a preschooler remember of all this? I don’t think it matters. I’m instilling something much deeper in my children than the memory of a landmark or two. The family time, even if my husband can’t be with us, draws us closer together. If my kids learn to enjoy each other’s company and look forward to seeing new things together, it becomes a lifetime habit. I want them to always remain close. Also, I want to impart to my kids that life is a gift to be lived fully, the world is to be explored, and we are a small part of something much bigger than ourselves. What better way than to show them all of the beautiful things that are waiting to be seen?