built in besties.

From birth to age 11 I was a Navy Brat. A Squid’s Kid. From age 20 to 27 I was an Air Force Wife. My list of home states/countries goes like this:

Maryland

Greece

California

Panama

Maryland

Alabama

Mississippi (a brief but world-altering interlude)

Ohio

Colorado

Alabama. HOME.

Growing up I never really thought about the vagabond life of a military child. It was just what we did. I was always sad to leave my friends but my mom would always remind me that I would make new ones. And in her motherly way she was always right. But with the exception of my brief birth stint in Maryland I still remember all of my friends from each of the places we lived. I won’t bore you with their names but they are written on my heart. In permanent marker.

Being a vagabond certainly has its perks. I can make friends easily. I can fit in when I want to and stand out when I don’t. I know who I am no matter where I am. I guess we travelers are like weeds in that way – our roots may not go deep but we’re tenacious and can transplant at will. Being a vagabondish weed isn’t all bad. 😉

But sometimes I look at my children and just a teensy weensy small part of me craves the childhood they will have. They have built in besties. No need for the permanent marker. They’re here to stay and don’t have to fear the losing and gaining and losing again. Of course they’ll never know what they have because they’ll never know the alternative. Life on our little street with our dear neighbors will be all they know. And when someone asks where they’re from they’ll know the unequivocal answer.

And tonight, I’m thankful for that.

TammyJuly 25, 2010 - 7:56 pm

I’ve been lurking on your blog ever since Karen Russell introduced me to you via hers. First, I must say what everyone probably says and that is … I LOVE your photos. I love that they are clear, colorful, and real.
Secondly, I must say that I totally resonate with this post. I grew up always moving around, overseas AND in the US, and although my kids have lived in more than one place (like TWO – or three, in the case of the youngest one), their childhood has been so different than mine as far as what they can call ‘home’. I’ve always taught them, though, that home is where family is … could be France, could be Tennessee, could be Africa, could be WA State … And travel (exposure to other cultures) is vital to a good world view!

AnneJuly 25, 2010 - 10:27 pm

I am thrilled that you picked Huntspatch as the place to put down roots and raise your little weeds.

LynneJuly 26, 2010 - 4:52 am

I have a three-year old boy, and I LOVE those “squishy” boy bellies (as my daughter calls them.) Have to say, my prarents moved into their house when I was six months old, and they moved when I was 27 🙂 Besties are fantastic.

PennyJuly 26, 2010 - 6:28 am

Precious photos and wonderful story.

After my marriage I was an Army wife for 7 years before the hubs & I moved on to civilian life, so I can relate some. We only moved twice (I say “only” because life-time military folks move dozens & dozens of time without blinking an eye, as you know).

It was a unique lifestyle that presented plenty of opportunities for wonderful socialization outside our usual circle. It offered us a different perspective that has remained with us all these years later. I fully embraced the “nomad” lifestyle – at least for the short time I had to live it. I loved everyone I met along the way – and we have kept in touch with a few. But I really savor being settled into one place now.

Jessica WJuly 26, 2010 - 7:19 am

I am watching my kids build their networks of friends and it is so fun to be a part of. I love the thought of growing up with kids and knowing them for their entire lives.

JuliPJuly 26, 2010 - 7:37 am

I would like to add, you can live in the same house your whole life (or from 3.5 yrs and parents moving when I was 35 years) and NEVER have a bestie from the neighborhood. We moved to a nice neighborhood in St. Paul, but there were NO kids our age within about 3 blocks of our house…I had to cross a busy street to get to my friends house. It was not easy.
And it turns out, I didn’t have a true “bestie” until highschool because all the girls in my gradeschool were a bunch of snotty brats that I would never in a million years want to be friends with!
Kudos to you for drawing the right straw when selecting the neighborhood to move into. It’s a crap shoot and you won!

j.j.July 26, 2010 - 12:30 pm

oh, gosh, alla tells me, “I don’t ever want to move!” and tho not a military kid, I had the same moving around a bunch childhod, so I’m very glad our kids are here to stay, too – they will have what I didn’t.

JenniferJuly 26, 2010 - 1:55 pm

Love those pics!! (and love the post) My parents always wanted/threatened to move and I refused to budge. They didn’t leave the street I grew up on until I was in my mid 20’s. I lived at one end or the other of Green Valley Road until my mid 30’s!

MayJuly 26, 2010 - 3:47 pm

that is so cool! Where did you live in Mississippi? I would love to know more about that world altering interlude 🙂

gretchenJuly 26, 2010 - 4:26 pm

I really love your blog and photos!!!
I have a weird request…I purchased the 8 million dollar crumpler camera bag at Christmas, and not sure if I am IN LOVE with it~can you show how you pack yours??? I have been through 4 differant bags and just cannot seem to find one that I LOVE 🙁

linda atkinsJuly 26, 2010 - 8:15 pm

I loved this post and the photos of your kids with their besties. (especially the fingernail polish on your daughter’s friend’s fingers) I grew up like your kids are. And at almost 50 years old I’m still best friends with my next door neighbor from that idyllic little dead end street in Boring Oregon. We live 5 hours apart now, but were in each others’ weddings and at the births of each others kids, and we still talk almost daily! It’s not a bad way to grow up!
Linda

Sharli FrederiksenJuly 31, 2010 - 9:14 am

Your photos of the children are just wonderful – and I totally agree. I was an “air force brat” and when I finally got to choose where I would live, I’ve been in the same city for 38 years and in the same house now for 25 years. I now know the names of the people at the grocery store, post office, etc. etc. My situation was worse because I was an only child. But there are some amazing benefits – my favorite is that I have this deep understanding that people all around the world are basically the same. Just different. Not good / bad – only different.

Your children are truly blessed to have each other.

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